Fossils of Mazon Creek

Comparable Modern Specimen

Do you recognize any of these specimens from the last activity? Have you seen any creatures like these in the world around you?

Each of the specimens on this page are similar to the ones living in the Mazon Creek ecosystem in Illinois 300 million years ago.

Some of the specimens pictured on these cards are real images of living animals. Some of them are artist depictions of what scientists think extinct creatures living during the Carboniferous period would have looked like.

What challenges do you think scientists have when trying to imagine what a fossilized creature would have looked like when it was alive?