Trace Fossils (PA-25)
Dinosaur tracks are a spectacular trace fossil, but in Indiana, where dinosaur remains are lacking, we must be content with the trails and tracks of small marine animals. Trace fossils exclude the usual shells, bones, teeth and other direct evidence of ancient animals but include tracks, trails, burrows, tubes an fecal material (called coprolites) within layers of sedimentary rocks. Even feeding patterns and resting impressions in the formerly soft muds are trace fossils.

Not all Indiana trace fossils are spectacular, but they are important clues to ancient environments. A variety of complex feeding patters indicates relatively deep and quiet water. Crawling, resting, dwelling and deposit-feeding patterns are found together in the shallow shelf areas. Vertical dwelling burrows dominate at the shoreline. These clues build a picture of sediment distribution and also provide a better understanding of ancient environments.

Our Hoosier State Beneath Us: Paleontology


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