HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

FOLLOW US
The Ultimate Fossil Quiz
by Staff
When you think about fossils, you probably picture the big-money stuff: T-Rex skeletons, perfectly preserved mammoths and the like. Compared to them, the vast majority of fossils are relatively tiny and seemingly insignificant.

A preserved piece of a plant or animal can officially be called a fossil if it's more than how many years old?

  • 1,000
  • 10,000
  • 100,000

What's the fossil record?

  • a list of the oldest fossilized specimens that have been found for each species
  • a database of all the species that have ever existed
  • all the fossils that have ever been discovered

About how far back does the fossil record go?

  • 550 million years
  • 1 billion years
  • 3 billion years

According to the information we have from the fossil record, about how old is the Earth?

  • 4.5 billion years old
  • 3 billion years old
  • 2.5 billion years old

What do paleontologists use mass spectrometers for?

  • finding the location of a fossil encased in amber
  • determining a fossil's age
  • separating a fossil from the rock that surrounds it

What's a transitional fossil?

  • a fossil of indeterminate age
  • a fossil that doesn't look like one specific animal
  • a fossil that isn't fully preserved

How old are the oldest human fossils?

  • 195,000 years old
  • 255,000 years old
  • 305,000 years old

What's a living fossil?

  • an animal that very closely resembles an ancient, fossilized animal
  • an animal that can live hundreds of years
  • a modern species whose ancestors have never been found in a fossilized state

In February 2009, paleontologists unearthed a 60-million-year-old snake -- the largest on record. How much would it have weighed when it was living?

  • 900 pounds
  • 1,400 pounds
  • 2,500 pounds

Where is "Dinosaur City," the world's largest fossil site?

  • Siberia
  • China
  • Libya