From the tiniest bacteria to some of the largest creatures--fossils are clues that help us solve the fascinating riddles of how life on Earth evolved. Fossils are fascinating because of their natural beauty and the mystery and wonder they evoke about ancient worlds we can only imagine.
Students as well as professional paleontologists can make important discoveries about fossils. Although much has been discovered about ancient life-forms, there is still a great deal more to learn about our planet and its earliest inhabitants. In this article and in Portals to the Past, teachers and students can learn about the "Bone Wars" of the frontier West, the "smartest" dinosaur, current "hot topics" in paleontological research, and how to bring your study of fossils to life with the hands-on activities suggested for the classroom and the outdoors.