How do we know that dinosaurs, animals that became extinct before recorded history, ever existed in the first place? The answer is fossils and scientists. Fossils are what scientists study to learn about the history of the earth. Fossils are ancient dinosaur bones that were covered up by the earth over time. Gradually, the bone material broke down and was replaced by surrounding minerals and rocks. When Archeologists and Paleontologists discover these fossilised bones, they perform an excavation of the area in hopes of finding more fossils
What is an excavation? Remember the opening scene of Jurassic Park? They were scientists doing an excavation. Scientists gather up graduate archeology and paleontology students with lots of brushes and dental tools to gently remove the dirt surrounding the fossil. This reveals a vague outline of the former dinosaur. The scientists then flesh out the dinosaur based on the fossil and other fossils similar to it. Such is the fate of extinct dinosaurs.
What about dinosaurs with such small brains their vocabulary was too limited to understand extinction? Those dinosaurs are still with us. They are known as crocodiles and sharks. Yes, crocodiles and sharks are holdovers from the age of the dinosaurs. How they escaped the fate of the extinct dinosaurs is a mystery to science. Some scientists speculate that they lived in such warm waters and swamplands that the Ice Age did not freeze them to death. Some speculate that their ugliness and meanness helped them survive. No matter what the reason, they are with us today as a reminder of the past.