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Fossils & Paleontology















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Paleontology defined: the science dealing with the life of past geological periods as known especially from fossil remains.


Fossil defined: a trace or print or the remains of a plant or animal of a past age preserved in earth or rock.


Paleontological Resources Management

The Forest Service recognizes multiple use values for paleontological resources that include: a legacy for present and future generations; scientific significance, education and interpretation; and recreational  opportunities and aesthetic qualities.  The Forest Service is dedicated to protecting and managing the  paleontological (fossil) resources which are important to our natural resource inheritance.


Paleontological Resources Preservation

The Forest Service Final Rule for Paleontological Resources Preservation was published in the Federal Register on April 17, 2015, with an effective date of May 18, 2015 (rule is fully effective 30 days after Federal Register publication).  Follow link below to obtain a copy of the Final Rule.
Final Regulations for Paleontological Resources Preservation (.pdf version)


Base Authorization for the Forest Service's Paleontology Program

Paleontological Resources Preservation Act (PRPA) of 2009 (Public Law 111-11)


Collection of Paleontological Resources: Permit Application Form and Permitted Activity Reporting Forms

Links of Interest

National Park Service: Park Paleontology and Paleontological Resources Management in the Parks.

USGS Paleontology Home Page: Learn about fossils and find links to educational resources.

National Museum of Natural History: Smithsonian's Department of Paleobiology.  Learn about fossils and research, and find links to educational resources.

Bureau of Land Management: Fossil resources on public lands.

BLM Adventures in the Past:  Discovering the Public Lands' Archaeological, Historic, and Fossil Resources.

Bureau of Reclamation: Fossil resources home page. Find out more about BOR fossil sites.

The Paleontology Portal: A resource for anyone interested in paleontology, from the professional in the lab to the interested amateur scouting for fossils to the student in any classroom.

American Geological Institute: Investigating Earth Systems: Fossils.  Online lesson plans for educators.



USDA Forest Service
Last Modified:  October 2015 USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.