Monday, 10 November 2008

Me - a fossil?

'How could I become fossilised? Thinking through fossilisation in the context of me or you' is the latest Earthlearningidea. The pupils are asked to consider what would happen if someone in their class fell into a nearby river or the sea and died. How might they become fossilised? Inevitably, the story of decay is a bit gruesome but you can steer the pupils to the answers. The best chances of fossilisation are where there is no activity to drag the body along, where there is no oxygen so that animals that might eat the body and bacteria that might rot the body can't live. The best chances of getting these conditions occur if the body is buried. If you want to be a fossil, don't fall into a river or the sea, ask to be buried! You need to be buried in impermeable ground like mud or clay that will keep water and oxygen out - like the man shown in the image above. He died more than 6000 years ago and was buried in a bog (Tollund Man from Denmark). Unfortunately, he isn't 10,000 years old and so is too young to be a true fossil.


Anonymous said...

Monday night is ELI night! I am fascinated with the idea of becoming fossilised but 10,000 years is a long time to wait! This activity is going to grip the imagination of thousands.

Anonymous said...

This is an activity we routinely do with kids 4th grade and up on guided tours of the UW Geology Museum. It's a big hit - interactive, kindof gross, and informative.

Anonymous said...

Tollund Man is wonderful. He might be one of my ancestors!