Coral Fossils Discovered in Iowa

A discovery in Iowa City has given scientists a window into the past. Construction crews doing work in the area found coral fossils dating back to a time when Iowa was covered by water. Fossils are just the remains of a plant or animal of a past age preserved in earth or rock.

Joe Huisinga has more on the find -- and what it means to scientists.


  --REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
FOSSILS ARE LIKE A TIME CAPSULE CREATED MILLIONS OF YEARS BEFORE FOR HUMANS ROAMED THE EARTH.
(Tiffany Adrain/Collections Manager, UI Paleontology Depository)
"It's a whole history in the ground beneath our feet of how Iowa and the world has changed over time."
DURING CONSTRUCTION ON THE SEAMANS CENTER ANNEX AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, CONSTRUCTION CREWS STARTED FINDING THESE PIECES OF THE PAST.
(Dave Mellecker/Superintendent Knutson Construction)
"It's kinda neat, I mean you go down and you're digging up stuff that's been there for millions of years you know and each piece is a little bit different."
THESE FOSSILS FOUND IN CONSTRUCTION HAVE A LOT TO SAY ABOUT LIFE IN IOWA 385 MILLION YEARS AGO.
(Ryan Clark/Iowa Geological Survey Geologist)
"There's probably half a dozen or more different animals fossilized in this particular rock."
BACK THEN, IOWA WAS A WARM SHALLOW SEA MAKING IT A PERFECT PLACE FOR THESE SEA SPONGES AND CORALS TO THRIVE.
(Tiffany Adrain/Collections Manager at the UI Paleontology Depository)
"Iowa was down by the equator so the conditions were very different from what we have today so it's quite a nice reminder  of what Iowa used to be like and how different the planet was."
NOW SAMPLES OF THE FOSSILS WILL BE MOVED TO THE UNIVERSITY'S PALEONTOLOGY DEPOSITORY WHERE THEY WILL AGAIN BECOME PART OF IOWA'S HISTORY.

Instructional Links

Website Article: Floyd County Iowa Conservation, The Fossil Center

http://www.fossilcenter.com/Fossil.html

Classroom Resources: National Park Service, National Fossil Day, Kid Stuff

http://nature.nps.gov/geology/nationalfossilday/kids.cfm

Website Article: Dinosaurs for Kids, What is Paleontology?

http://www.kidsdinos.com/palaeontology-article.php

Encyclopedia Article: World Book Student, Iowa

http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar280720

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