October 9, 2014 - WASHINGTON – Dig into the world of saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths, and dinosaurs on National Fossil Day on October 15. The nationwide celebration will feature special events that promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils.
“More than 250 national parks protect a variety of fossils, ranging from a flying reptile known as pterosaurs in Big Bend National Park to a rare sauropod skull from Dinosaur National Monument to primitive algae in Glacier National Park,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “These irreplaceable treasures offer clues to the history of life, past climates, and ancient landscapes and provide us with a glimpse into a world we can only imagine.”
Fossils discovered on the nation's public lands preserve ancient life from all major eras of Earth's history and include samples from every major group of animal or plant. Visitors have the opportunity to see these fossilized remains in the same places that those animals and plants lived in millions of years ago.
National Fossil Day was started in 2010 by the National Park Service and the American Geological Institute. This year, more than 300 partners, including museums, federal and state agencies, fossil sites, science and education organizations, avocational groups, and national parks such as Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Petrified Forest National Park, and Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, will sponsor special events.
Paleontologists and geologists from the National Park Service will also be part of a marquee Fossil Day celebration at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Along with colleagues from partners that include the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, American Geosciences Institute, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Science Foundation, and Maryland Dinosaur Park, they will help children explore prehistoric life and dig for fossils. A team from Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas will have a special exhibit on their world renowned dinosaur tracks. Children are invited to become “Junior Paleontologists” at 10:00 a.m. on the entrance steps to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.
For more information on National Fossil Day, please visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/nationalfossilday/.