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FOSSIL FACTS Most fossils are found in sedimentary rocks that form from the deposits of sand and mud.

When an animal or plant dies, its body can get buried into sand or mud. Then, over ages (millions of years), the sand or mud gets compacted, and eventually turns to rock. Minerals can also leach into the animal's body, helping to preserve it. Similarly, just as animals' bodies and plants can be preserved by this process of fossilization, so too can animals' nests, burrows, footprints, dung, etc. Of course, most animals and plants that die are not preserved in this way. Likewise most nests, burrows, footprints, dung, etc., are also not preserved. It is far more likely that they are destroyed - for example, bodies can be eaten by scavengers or rot away, footprints can be washed away, and so forth. It is only rarely, when all the circumstances happen to be just right, that a fossil is formed. Mary Anning (1799-1847) was a fossil hunter who lived in Lyme Regis, England. Anning was responsible for the discovery of the fossilized s skeleton of an Ichthyosaur (the skeleton is now in London's Natural History Museum) in 1811, as well as a Plesiosaur in 1821, and a Pterodactyl in 1828.  Edward D. Cope (1840-1897) was an American paleontologist who discovered over a thousand species of extinct vertebrates. His exploration and research took place principally in Texas and Wyoming. Lawrence Lambe (1849 to 1934) was one of Canada's greatest paleontologists. He discovered and named many types of dinosaurs, and also studied other prehistoric animals. Othniel C. Marsh (1831-1899) was a professor of paleontology at Yale. He discovered the first American Pterodactyl fossils, and was first to scientifically describe many different dinosaurs, including Apatosaurus and Allosaurus. Henry Fairfield Osborn (1857-1935) was an American paleontologist who was the president of the American Museum of Natural History, and also a professor at Columbia University, Osborn described and named Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1905, the first fossils of the animal have been discovered by Barnum Brown in 1902. Osborn also did important theoretical work, and proposed the theory of Adaptive Radiation, in which animals and plants evolve into several species by spreading and adapBarnum Brown (1879-1968) was perhaps the greatest dinosaur hunter of the 20th century - many people remarked on his uncanny ability to sniff out dinosaur fossils. Brown began by working as an assistant to Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1897, and during this career discovered numerous species of dinosaurs and other animals. His most famous discovery was the first Tyrannosaurus Rex ever found, in 1902 in Montana..