National Fossil Day™   Explore Nature
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Climate Change in the Fossil Record

Paleontologists study fossils to learn about past climate change and how plants and animals might respond to modern climate change. NPS Photo.

Fossils connect us with past climates on Earth. Fossils also provide us clues about how plants and animals responded to changes in the past and what sort of responses they may have as climate changes today and in the future.

Click on the links to the left to: learn how paleontologists use fossils to understand past climate; how climate has changed over time; how fossils provide clues for understanding modern climate change; and why fossil sites are great places to learn about climate change.



Much of the text and images on these pages were adapted from Kenworthy, J. 2010. Changing landscape, climate, and life during the age of mammals: interpreting paleontology, evolving ecosystems, and climate change in the Cenozoic fossil parks. Thesis. Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon. Used with permission of the author.

Last updated: September 22, 2010