Hagerman Fossil Beds Paleontology & Biostratigraphy
handout exercisesuggested grade levels: 9-12

view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

Stratigraphic columns are a means of presenting measured geologic sequences as a figure that is arranged with the youngest rock on top and the oldest rock on the bottom. Paleontology is the study of the remains of dead things. Fossils are found in different levels of rock. Scientists study these fossils and where they are fond in the rock layers to learn about the animal and the time it existed. The following exercise will teach students about how scientists go about finding this data.

Encourage your students to use the Digital Atlas.
To get there: Click on Atlas Home, Geology, Parks and Monuments, Hagerman Fossil Beds, then on Start Monument Module. Have your students explore the Hagerman Fossil Beds site and encourage them to click on the pictures. Have them complete the following worksheet. (See handout sample)

These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.
geo11ho.pdf | geo11AK.pdf | Start Monument Module

Handout Sample:
The sample questions below are shown in the printed handout.

1.There are numerous bones found on site at Hagerman. Go to the Fossil Beds Photo database and click on the bone measurement photographs. Conduct some basic measurements on 5 pictures of bones and estimate the approximate size of the animal. Write the name of the animal and its approximate size.
2. Preservation of the bones at Hagerman is excellent. What conditions were present to favor fossilization?
Go to the Hagerman section and use the home page menu to access the Hagerman reference diagrams for help answering the next questions:
3. Based on the fossil range chart provided, what is the approximate age of the 3 different fossil units at Hagerman?
4. Look over the stratigraphic columns and determine what the depositional environment was and whether or not it had changed through time.

Related Lesson Topics:
Geology: Geology Topics

Lesson Plan provided by Vita Taube, 2000
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: