Dig for fossils this fall!

fossil week

 What is a fossil? Watch this video and find out!

Did you know Cincinnati is famous for its fossils?

The upper Ordovician strata of Southwest Ohio, Southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky are some of the most fossiliferous (this is actually a real word!). The rocks here have been studied by professionals for 175 years. In fact, there are so many fossils here that the uppermost rocks of the North American Ordovician Period are referred to as the Cincinnatian Series (Encyclopedia Britannica).

The Ordovician Period is known for its vast array of marine invertebrates including trilobites, graptolites and brachiopods. It is also known for early vertebrates, the conodonts, as well as primitive fish, cephalopods, coral, crinoids and gastropods (University of California Museum of Paleontology). This period lasted 45 million years, during which the earth was experiencing a mild climate. Most of the planet’s land was collected together in one big continent (University of California Museum of Paleontology). A shallow sea covered most of what is now North America, depositing limestone, shale and sandstone (Rieboldt, Springer & Whitney).

At the end of the period, a drop in sea level occurred due to glaciation. This left previously deposited rocks eroded and exposed. This drop in sea level may have contributed to the mass extinction that occurred during the end of the Ordovician Period, when it is believed that up to 60 percent of marine invertebrates went extinct (Rieboldt, Springer & Whitney).

In this video, Dr. Brenda Hunda, Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology at Cincinnati Museum Center, explains more about Ohio fossils, including trilobites.

What is a paleontologist and what do they study? Sesame Street’s Elmo and his friend Amy explain.

How well can you do in a dinosaur race? Choose your dinosaur and help him make it to the finish line first!

Mark your calendar for Cincinnati Museum Center’s annual Fossil Fest on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015!

Featured Girl in Real Life Science: Dr. Susan Kidwell

Professor of Geology – University of Chicago

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Now that you are a fossil expert, meet a girl who is working to tie fossils and the environment together to study how life has evolved. Dr. Susan Kidwell is currently a Professor of Geology at the University of Chicago, where her interests include studying mollusks, advising graduate students, and conducting field work in places like California and Yellowstone National Park. You can read more about Dr. Kidwell in her GIRLS interview, and hear her lecture at Cincinnati Museum Center on October 14th, 2015, on National Fossil Day!

Want to dig for your own fossils? Try these local parks!

Remember to have an adult contact the park before you start digging!

Trammel Fossil Park: Fossils ranging from 450 to 500 million years old in inter bedded shale and limestone. For more information, have an adult call 513-563-2985. This park has a lot of fossils and some of them are very easy to find.

Caesar Creek State Park: Fossils ranging from 450 to 500 million years old found in limestone forming the crest of the Cincinnati Arch. Collecting rules apply. A permit must be obtained at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center, which also features a display of fossils found at the park. For more information about fossil hunting at Caesar Creek, have an adult call 513-897-1050.

Cowan Lake State Park: Fossils ranging from 450 to 500 million years old found in limestone forming the eastern edge of the Cincinnati Arch. Collecting rules apply. Special permission to collect fossils must be obtained from Ohio State Parks.

East Fork State Park: Fossils ranging from 450 to 500 million years old in inter bedded shale and limestone. Collecting rules apply. A permit must be obtained at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center.

Hueston Woods State Park: Fossils ranging from 450 to 500 million years old in limestone and dolomite forming the western edge of the Cincinnati Arch. Collecting rules apply.

Stonelick State Park: Fossils ranging from 450 to 500 million years old in inter bedded shale and limestone. Collecting rules apply.

Remember to have an adult contact the park before you start digging!

What are you doing in September?

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GIRLS University: Edible Soil Science
Come learn about the wonderful world of dirt! Our soil systems are the foundation for all living things and are closely linked to the health of our ecosystems. We’ll learn the basics of soil formation through a hands-on activity – edible soil profiles – that we’ll eat at the end! Ages 8-14. Sept. 19 from 11 a.m.-noon. Included with museum admission, registration required.

 

Explorer's University Lockup 300

Don’t Trash it, Fix it!
Learn skills that can help you fix some common problems with toys, electronics, and small appliances. We’ll provide some broken items, you learn how to fix them. Ages 9 to 15. $7 for members; $10 for non-members. Sept. 5 from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Museum of Natural History and Science.

Scavenger Hunt: The Best Fall for All
Celebrate this month with us as autumn begins and “fall” into these clues as you earn Nature’s Trading Post points. Sept. 1-30 in the Museum of Natural History & Science

…and so much more!

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