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Downtown Fossil Hunt

Did you know that fossils can sometimes be found in the materials used to construct buildings? It's true. So next time you're downtown try a little local paleontology with your child. Fossils are most often found in limestone, a grayish material commonly used in older buildings (its more uniform in appearance than granite, and often looks like concrete). The fossils were water dwellers that often predate dinosaurs--ancient clams, corals, snails, sea lilies (which look like soda straws composed of small sections), and "brachiopods"(which look like clamshells). You can search for fossils on the outside of large old buildings like libraries, museums, and municipal offices. Look carefully, because each fossil will probably be smaller than a penny. "Collect"the fossils by making a list in a notebook and writing down their location. Your child might want to sketch them, too. How's that for ancient history right in your own town?