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It's National Fossil Day!

Oct 13 is National Fossil Day! 

  • National Fossil Day was created to:

    • "Highlight the scientific and educational value of paleontology and the importance of preserving fossils for future generations", according the the National Park Service website.

  • Do you know Illinois' state fossil?

    • Illinois has a truly unique state fossil - the Tully  Monster!
    • The Tully Monster was a soft-bodied animal from the the Pennsylvanian Period, 300 million years ago, when Illinois was located closer to the equator.
      • Soft-bodied animals, without backbones, typically don't fossilize, so it was considered quite unique that this bizarre looking animal appeared in the rocks found in Mason Creek, Illinois.
      • Is was surmised that the Tully Monster swam in the shallow seas of the time, surrounded by dense swamps and prehistoric forests.
      • It was named after the man who discovered it in the 1950s, Frances Tully.
        • He took it to the Field Museum and they began calling it "Mr. Tully's  Monster, which eventually became Tully Monster.
      • The debate about which group of animals the Tully Monster belongs to -  invertebrates (no backbone) or vertebrates (with a backbone) - continues to this day!
      • But wait, further research suggests that might not be the case:
      • So the mystery of this weird animal continues along with the research to find the answers. 
        • The puzzle over the Tully Monster is a perfect example of the scientific process - scientists making progress by using the scientific method: 
          • 1) Make an observation that describes a problem
          • 2) Create a hypothesis
          • 3) Test the hypothesis
          • 4) Draw conclusions and refine the hypothesis      
  • What do you think?

 

For more information about National Fossil Day visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/index.htm  

 


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