Recent Comments

How to Find Fossils


Sometimes a rock’s just a rock … and sometimes it’s a fossil. How can you tell the difference?

Research which fossils are common where you’ll be hiking

Stop by a museum or visitor center, call a local university’s geology department or search for a club of paleontologists (people who study fossils of plants and animals).

Find the right kind of rocks

Fossils are found in sedimentary rocks, like sandstone, limestone or shale. Sedimentary rocks look like layered pancakes.

Look for exposed rock

Check out stream cuts, bluffs, sea cliffs, road cuts or any place where bedrock is eroding.

Get low

You’ll see more fossils when you’re on your hands and knees. Use a magnifying lens. Form a “search image” in your mind. If you spotted ammonites at a nearby rock shop, think about what they looked like. Search for spirals and snail shapes. And remember that most fossils are small sea animals – not rare dinosaur bones.

Don’t take fossils

Leave fossils as you found them, so others can enjoy them, unless directed otherwise by local authorities. If you think you’ve found something unusual, make a careful note of its exact location — information that’s as important as the rock itself. A fossil’s location tells its story, where and how the animal lived.


Here are five fossils that you can look for on your next hike.


People in the Middle Ages called ammonoids “snake stones” because they thought the fossils were coiled snakes.



Scientists say most brachiopods disappeared 250 million years ago, when as much as 95 percent of ocean animals died in a mass extinction.



Algae lives inside the coral, giving it nutrients and oxygen.



This flower-shaped animal’s anus was next to its mouth.



Growing trilobites crawled out of old exoskeletons through head splits, giving their fossils “facial structures.”


29 Comments on How to Find Fossils

  1. Lelslsls2822 // November 18, 2023 at 5:45 pm // Reply

    I found 2 small belemnite pieces,1 crinoid System And Small brachiopodes and 30 grypheae Arcuata whit 14 years

    My next Fossils that i want to find is Amonite,bivalve and tooth From a dinosaur.

  2. Wet your finger and touch it. If it feels sticky, it’s a fossil. If not, then it’s a rock!

  3. Megaladon vs mosasaurus 3000 // May 3, 2021 at 10:28 am // Reply

    I have found a lot of marine animal fossils on sharktooth hill. [bakersfield,CA] You people look there. i found a mosasaurus fossil, IT WAS HUGE!!! just saying look there they’re are megaladon teeth there too!!

  4. I am 14 years old and I didn’t find one but I was given one so I don’t know how old it is and what its name Is it looks so cool you should see it

  5. If you have a limestone driveway,you will be able to find some fossils. I have found around 50 in our driveway.

  6. Where should you find the fossils? It doesn’t really say.

  7. Hi I shell and I found a lot of shell fossil on my property and a lot stones plus gold flakes..

  8. Trees ru ls // July 25, 2018 at 12:54 pm // Reply

    Tell me, were are the best locations to find fossils.

  9. Dinos beneath us // June 30, 2018 at 9:00 pm // Reply

    I found 10000 yr old fossils of a TREE and by my research it was a oak tree

  10. good fun

  11. dizzyizzy7803 // November 7, 2016 at 7:49 pm // Reply

    hi i am doing a project on fossils with my class the info was helpful

  12. I’m 9 years old and I find an ammonite fossil. According to its markings, it is 75 million years old from the Cretaceous period in the Mesazoic Era!

  13. i think i have lots of fosils then lost them

  14. were would you look for fossils ? I’M trying to look for them but no sign of any. Could you help me?

  15. I really need some tips on how to find fossils and where to find them!

  16. I just found a trilobite in the appalation mts

  17. finding fossils are fun to find

  18. Very good

  19. I’ve found many ocean fossils in stream cut shale rocks.

  20. how to find a good fossil

  21. I found a T-Rex fore claw! 🙂

  22. Im in southwest Virginia and im tryin to find fossils..any suggestions??

Leave a Comment

Please don't use your real name.