Paleontology: Paleontologists Study Tracks and Traces


Jenny Clack visits a site with fossilized tracks of an early tetrapod.  She and her assistant hypothesize about what the animal was doing around 370 million years ago.

Whitey Hagadorn plays detective in deep time as he finds the traces of early animals.  He hypothesizes about how the tracks were preserved.

Simon Braddy discovers fossil tracks in the field and looks at museum collections to figure out who made the track.

Next Generation Science Standards for this Video

Fossilized tracks and traces are not only evidence of the presence of an animal but they reveal how an animal moved. When paleontologists analyze fossilized tracks and traces, they’re using their knowledge of how modern animals move modern animals to reconstruct evolutionary history and behavior.

Using their knowledge of modern animals, paleontologists observe and measure fossil tracks to understand evolutionary history.

Fossils are not only preserved body parts but also tracks. Both provide evidence of ancient life.

Paleontologists conduct research both in the field and in museums.