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students analyzing plant leaves
May 24, 2017

from The Marblehead Reporter
By Chris Stevens

Bell School’s youngest students dug up some of the world’s oldest fossils when they got the chance to play paleontologists for a day.

Susan Dalton from Discovery Museum Acton taught students the difference between a trace fossil, like a footprint and a body fossil, a bone or tooth before setting them loose to “dig” for them in tubs of sand.

“They have to record what they find and record whether it’s a trace fossil or a body fossil,” Dalton said.

Then she made the whole class go “ewwww” when she showed them a fossil of dinosaur poop.

“Don’t worry,” she said with a laugh. “It doesn’t smell. It’s very old.”

Gabriel Jones, Mary Prindiville and Lily Cintolo used brushes like pros to unearth a fossilized skin impression, a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull and an Iguanodon thumb spike.

Lily was lukewarm on dinosaurs themselves, but liked digging in the dirt.

Students actually took turns, some digging and some playing dinosaur mom or dad and building a nest to protect their dinosaur egg. Michael Salemi was a meticulous nest builder, carefully tucking leaves and bits of plants under and around his egg.

“It’s important to cover it with green so other animals don’t eat it up,” he said.

Before Carol Spillane’s students headed back to class Dalton invited them to create a dinosaur in any color they wanted.

“Because in reality no one has ever seen a dinosaur so no one really knows what color they are,” Dalton said pointing out pictures of blue, grey, green and even a striped dinosaur.

Prindiville and Cintolo chose blue and purple while another pair chose yellow and orange and yet another pair picked red and purple, but Nina Badzak used every color in the rainbow for her dinosaur. Layering one color over another she said she was pretty certainly dinosaurs were all sorts of colors—and she could be right.

(c) 2017 GateHouse Media New England
Wicked Local Staff Photos / David Sokol