The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Affordable pricing from £10/month

Fossils and Evolution

In this worksheet, students will consolidate their understanding of the formation of fossils and their usefulness in understanding the process of evolution.

'Fossils and Evolution' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Evolution and Inheritance

Curriculum subtopic:   Changes Over time: Fossils

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Now, you might think that your teacher, uncle or grandparent is an old fossil, but that's not what a fossil really is! Fossils are the remains of organisms, many of which are no longer found on Earth, that used to inhabit the planet millions of years ago.

 

Fossils

 

The remains of the organism is fossilised - that means it becomes stone. That might leave an imprint (like a leaf) or it might be something like a shell or a bone that is fossilised and you can actually hold.

 

So, where does evolution fit in? We understand evolution as the gradual change of living organisms over time as they adapt to the world as it changes around them. The fossil record can help us to see what certain plants and animals looked like millions of years ago and how they might have changed to either die out or end up as the organisms we know today - the crocodile is an example of this, an animal we can trace through the fossil record to today. Have a glance at the evolution of the horse, below. By the way, if we know the age of the rocks the fossils are found in, we know the age of the organism that was fossilised in that rock.

 

Evolution of horses

 

If all of this seems a little confusing, use this activity to maybe help get a firmer grasp of what evolution and fossils are all about.

What are fossils?

 

Click the one you agree with.

Your grandparent

The shell of a crab

An old bone

Remains of long-dead organisms

What kind of remains fossilise well?

 

Tick all the ones you agree with.

Skin

Bone

Hair

Teeth

Leaves

Feathers

Claws

Flowers

What sort of material are fossils generally found in?

Sand

Rock

Mud

Peat

Apart from things like shells and other animal/plant parts, what other sorts of evidence can also be found in the fossil record to help us understand about life on Earth millions of years ago?

 

Three are correct, one is not - pick the odd-one-out.

Footprints

Eggs

Blood

Feces (poo)

When an ancient fish, for example, died and dropped slowly to the ocean floor, what do you think it needed to be covered with over time in order to form a fossil?

 

Fossil fish

Water

Seaweed

Mud

Shells

Complete this sentence:

Water

Seaweed

Mud

Shells

What word do we use to describe organisms that no longer exist on the planet?

 

Type your answer into the box.

Complete the sentence below.

One factor that drives the changes we see in evolution is how organisms change with their environment, say if it gets wetter or cooler, or if the food plants change. Look at how the Earth has changed over millions of years!

 

Evolution of the Earth

 

What do we call this change in organisms to suit their environment better?

 

Type your answer into the box.

Here is the picture of the skull of what we believe to be a very early form of human called 'Homo habilis':

 

Early human skull

 

We think that we (Homo sapiens) evolved from creatures like this.

 

Estimate the likely age of this skull (remember, an estimate is based on what you know, not what you don't, so pick the likely answer).

 

 

10,000 years

2 million years

400 million years

2 billion years

  • Question 1

What are fossils?

 

Click the one you agree with.

CORRECT ANSWER
Remains of long-dead organisms
EDDIE SAYS
Fossils take a long time to form - when something, like a bone, is fossilised it means that the structure that was bone is slowly turned to stone. That means that fossils are what's left (if we're lucky) of organisms that lived millions of years ago - they give a picture into a world that no longer exists. That's how we know about dinosaurs - obviously, there are none alive today!
  • Question 2

What kind of remains fossilise well?

 

Tick all the ones you agree with.

CORRECT ANSWER
Bone
Teeth
Claws
EDDIE SAYS
To be honest, pretty much any of these can be fossilised, but the ones that work really well were hard to start off with: bones, teeth and claws. Dinosaur skin and fern leaves have all been found fossilised, but it's really rare and conditions need to be perfect.
  • Question 3

What sort of material are fossils generally found in?

CORRECT ANSWER
Rock
EDDIE SAYS
Fossils generally have to be separated from the rock that's formed around them. A dead fish, for example, was surrounded by mud (or sand) on the seafloor and over millions of years more and more mud was added on top. It all gets squashed down (compressed) and turned to rock. The fossil fish is still there, turned to stone, waiting for a fossil hunter to reveal it!
  • Question 4

Apart from things like shells and other animal/plant parts, what other sorts of evidence can also be found in the fossil record to help us understand about life on Earth millions of years ago?

 

Three are correct, one is not - pick the odd-one-out.

CORRECT ANSWER
Blood
EDDIE SAYS
Well, amazingly, footprints and poo can be fossilised! Blood, being a liquid, does not fossilise, but the others have all provided evidence of creatures that walked this Earth a very long time ago. You'll love the fact that fossilised poo has its very own name - coprolite (well, maybe you weren't that impressed).
  • Question 5

When an ancient fish, for example, died and dropped slowly to the ocean floor, what do you think it needed to be covered with over time in order to form a fossil?

 

Fossil fish

CORRECT ANSWER
Mud
EDDIE SAYS
For a fossil to form, the dead organisms must be entombed, that is, surrounded with something like mud that then builds up and up over time to form a layer of rock in which the organism is turned to stone.
  • Question 6

Complete this sentence:

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Special scientists called geologists study rocks and we have learned that we can tell the age of a rock from things like where it is, whether it's in layers and so on. If we know the age of the rock, we know the age of the fossil that is discovered in the rock. Simples!
  • Question 7

What word do we use to describe organisms that no longer exist on the planet?

 

Type your answer into the box.

CORRECT ANSWER
extinct
extinction
EDDIE SAYS
There are literally millions of different sorts of organisms that once inhabited this planet and are no longer around today - they are extinct. Sadly, this is still happening today and often because of us humans. The dodo is an example of an extinct bird and it's possible that we may lose polar bears and some types of rhinos within the next 100 years. Extinct. Gone forever.
  • Question 8

Complete the sentence below.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Evolution is a very slow process - as organisms adapt and change with their environment, their structure changes (or they die out). We call this change over time in an organism, evolution.
  • Question 9

One factor that drives the changes we see in evolution is how organisms change with their environment, say if it gets wetter or cooler, or if the food plants change. Look at how the Earth has changed over millions of years!

 

Evolution of the Earth

 

What do we call this change in organisms to suit their environment better?

 

Type your answer into the box.

CORRECT ANSWER
adaptation
adapt
adapted
EDDIE SAYS
When organisms change in order to better suit their environment, we call this adaptation. We believe that this is a big driving force behind evolution, as organisms change over time.
  • Question 10

Here is the picture of the skull of what we believe to be a very early form of human called 'Homo habilis':

 

Early human skull

 

We think that we (Homo sapiens) evolved from creatures like this.

 

Estimate the likely age of this skull (remember, an estimate is based on what you know, not what you don't, so pick the likely answer).

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
2 million years
EDDIE SAYS
Ok, so what do we know? Ordinary human beings were around 10, 000 years ago (at the end of the Ice Age) therefore this skull is too early for that. 400 million years was way before the first dinosaur (they died out 75 million years ago), so no chance of any humans then. 2 billion years is getting close towards the time when life first started on Earth, so way too early! Human-like life forms have been dated back to around 3.5 million years, so we're pretty recent on the evolutionary scale! Fascinating, isn't it?
---- OR ----

Sign up for a £1 trial so you can track and measure your child's progress on this activity.

What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Get started
laptop

Start your £1 trial today.
Subscribe from £10/month.