Fossils and geological time resources

Discovering geology – maps and resources

You can download, print and make a number of paper dinosaur puppets to play with or colour-in a geological timeline to hang in your bedroom or classroom.

Spiral Timeline

The Spiral Timeline illustrates some of the animals and plants that have lived at different periods in Earth’s history, from the earliest life to human beings. Download, print and cut-out the Spiral Timeline mobile and hang from a bracket or ceiling.

The Spiral Timeline was designed and published jointly by the BGS and the National Museum of Wales

Colour and cut-out Spiral Timeline.
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Colour and cut-out Spiral Timeline. BGS ©UKRI. All rights reserved

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Hand puppets and models

Pterosaurs were flying reptiles that lived between 210 million and 65 million years ago, the same period of time that dinosaurs were alive. The smallest pterosaurs were about the same size as a chaffinch, while the largest had a wingspan of ten metres or more, making them one of the largest flying animals that has ever existed. Many pterosaurs had teeth and elaborate crests on their skulls.

Completed pterosaur model.
Completed pterosaur model. BGS ©UKRI. All rights reserved.

Download and assembly instructions

What you will need:

  • printed copy of the pdf file
  • glue or sticky tape
  • scissors
  • split pin paper fasteners

 

  1. Download cut-out puppet of the pterosaur in colour 348 KB pdf or in black and white to colour in 240 KB pdf.
  2. Cut around the four parts of the model — you may need to get an adult to help you.
  3. Head and lower jaw: fold down centre lines.
  4. Pierce black dots with a pencil, then attach lower and upper jaws together with split pins.
  5. Glue a finger loop to the head and another to the lower jaw.

Pterosaur puppet assembly instructions. BGS ©UKRI. All rights reserved.

Styracosaurus was a plant-eating dinosaur that lived about 75 million years ago in the part of the world we now call North America. Styracosaurus means ‘spiked lizard’ after the long horns on its neck frill and nose. It even had small horns on its cheeks. Its body resembled a rhinoceros and would have been about 5.5 metres long.

Completed styracosaurus model.
Completed styracosaurus model. BGS ©UKRI. All rights reserved.

Download and assembly instructions

What you will need:

  • printed copy of pdf
  • glue or sticky tape
  • scissors
  • split pin paper fasteners

 

  1. Download the cut-out puppet of styracosaurus in colour 409 KB pdf or in black and white to colour in 261 KB pdf.
  2. Cut around the six parts of the model — you may need to get an adult to help you.
  3. Spikes: fold flaps inwards.
  4. Head, horn and lower jaw: fold in half along line.
  5. Glue horn to inside end of nose.
  6. Glue spikes to inside of head using tabs.
  7. Finger loops: bend into a cylinder and glue or tape.
  8. Pierce black dots with a pencil, then attach lower jaw and head with split pins.
  9. Glue or tape a finger loop to the top jaw and another to the lower jaw.

Styracosaurus puppet assembly instructions. BGS ©UKRI. All rights reserved.

Tyrannosaurus rex lived about 67 million to 65 million years ago in what is now called North America. It was a meat-eater nearly 13 metres in length standing upright on its powerful hind legs. Although its front legs were tiny by comparison, there is evidence that they were also strong and muscular, perhaps for holding on to its prey. Its teeth could be up to 30 centimetres long and were shaped rather like bananas.

Completed tyrannosaurus rex model.
Completed tyrannosaurus rex model. BGS ©UKRI. All rights reserved.

Download and assembly instructions

What you will need:

  • printed copy of pdf
  • glue or sticky tape
  • scissors
  • split pin paper fasteners

 

  1. Download the cut-out puppet of tyrannosaurus rex in colour 509 KB pdf or in black and white to colour in 329 KB pdf.
  2. Cut around the four parts of the model — you may need to get an adult to help you.
  3. Head: fold flaps inwards and fold the ends of the upper jaw towards each other and glue to top of head.
  4. Lower jaw: fold along score lines near middle of head.
  5. Finger loops: bend into a cylinder and glue.
  6. Pierce black dots with a pencil, then attach lower jaw to head with split pins.
  7. Glue a finger loop to the top jaw and another to the bottom jaw.

Tyrannosaurus rex puppet assembly instructions. BGS ©UKRI. All rights reserved.

Models

Orthocone nautiloids were extinct ancestors of the tightly coiled Pearly Nautilus that is still found swimming in the deep oceans. Orthocones were distant relatives of extinct ammonites and modern squid and octopus. Orthocones lived from about 500 million years ago until nearly 200 million years ago. The soft body and tentacles are rarely preserved as fossils but the hard shells are often fossilised in large numbers.

Completed nautiloid model.
Completed nautiloid model. BGS ©UKRI. All rights reserved.

Download and assembly instructions

What you will need:

  • printed copy of the pdf
  • glue or sticky tape
  • scissors

 

  1. Download cut-out model of the Orthocone nautiloid in colour149 KB pdf or in black and white to colour in 95 KB pdf.
  2. Cut around the 2 parts of the model – you may need to get an adult to help you.
  3. Head: Fold flaps inwards.
  4. Bend into a cone shape and glue long flaps together.
  5. Shell: Fold flap.
  6. Bend shell into a cone shape and glue along flap.
  7. Glue head to inside of shell.

Orthocone nautiloid model assembly instructions. BGS ©UKRI. All rights reserved.

Trilobites were distantly related to crabs and lived in the sea from 526 million years ago until they became extinct 250 million years ago. There were many different species and 17 000 types of fossil trilobite have been found, ranging in size from only a few millimetres to more than half a metre in length.

Completed trilobite model.
Completed trilobite model. BGS ©UKRI. All rights reserved.

Download and assembly instructions

What you will need:

  • printed copy of the pdf
  • glue or sticky tape
  • scissors

 

  1. Download cut-out model of the trilobite in colour 250 KB pdf or in black and white to colour in 150 KB pdf.
  2. Cut around the four parts of the model — you may need to get an adult to help you.
  3. Shell (or exoskeleton): bend into slight curve and glue flaps to next part of body.
  4. Antennae: fold along line, then glue to head end of shell.
  5. Gills and legs: fold slightly along line and glue legs under gills.
  6. Glue gills and legs under the shell.

Trilobite model assembly instructions. BGS ©UKRI. All rights reserved.

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Fossils

What is a fossil and why do we study fossils? This section explains the different methods of fossil preservation and links to a set of detailed pages that describe 14 of the most common fossil types, including ammonites, belemnites, bivalves and trilobites.

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