The First Great National Park Fossil Quiz

Did you know more than 275 national parks across the country have fossils in them? Test your knowledge and learn more about fossils and paleontology in national parks with this quiz. Try to answer each multiple choice question and then check to see if you guessed correctly using the dropdown menus.

Question 1

Ranger paleontologist studying a fossil
Dr. Marsh examining a fossil

NPS Photo

Dr. Adam Marsh works at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona and is a park ranger who studies fossils. What type of scientist is Dr. Marsh?

a. archeologist
b. biologist
c. paleontologist
d. botanist

Question 2

Visitors stand on a boardwalk over large fossilized tusks and mammal skulls next to a painting of prehistoric mammoths
What visual clues help identify which national park this is?

NPS Photo

Look closely at the photo above and try to identify in which national park this photo was taken based on the clues.

a. Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado and Utah
b. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii
c. Death Valley National Park in California
d. Waco Mammoth National Monument in Texas

Illustration titled "Big Bend National Park" with pterosaurs,tyrannosaurus rex, and other prehistoric creatures

NPS Image

Question 3

Big Bend National Park in Texas preserves some interesting fossil reptiles, many of which are not dinosaurs. Which one of these ancient reptiles found in the park is actually a dinosaur?

a. crocodile
b. pterosaur
c. mosasaur
d. Tyrannosaurus rex

Illustration of a titanothere with text "National Fossil Day Learn, Explore, Protect"
Every year the National Fossil Day logo features a new prehistoric species.

NPS Image

Question 4

National Fossil Day is a celebration of all things related to fossils. During which month of the year is National Fossil Day?

a. April
b. June
c. October
d. December

c. October
National Fossil Day is on the second Wednesday of October every year. Find ways that you can get involved with National Fossil Day.

Mountains in the desert
The mountains in the park are actually remnants of an ancient reef that existed during the Permian period 251 to 299 million years ago!

NPS Photo

Question 5

Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas preserves an ancient reef system that existed before the dinosaurs. The rocks preserve many marine (ocean) fossils, most of which are invertebrate (animals without backbones). Which group of animals listed below would you NOT expect to find in the ancient reef rocks at the park?

a. sponges
b. corals
c. dinosaurs
d. trilobites

Question 6

River winding through a large canyon

NPS Photo

There are hundreds of caves within Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Some of these caves preserve the remains of animals that lived in the canyon during the ice ages. Which animal has not been found fossilized in the caves of Grand Canyon National Park?

a. vampire bat
b. whale
c. ground sloth
d. condor

Herb standing on a giant petrified stump
Dr. Herb Meyer standing on a very large petrified tree stump

NPS Photo

Question 7

Dr. Herb Meyer works at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado and is an expert in fossilized plants. What type of scientist is Dr. Meyer?

a. paleobotantist
b. ethnobotanist
c. microbiologist
d. vegetarian

Question 8

Illustration of prehistoric life during the Age of the Dinosaurs

NPS Image

Dinosaur footprints have been discovered at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. What types of information are scientists able to learn by studying fossil footprints of dinosaurs? (more than one correct answer)

a. what color skin the dinosaur had
b. the size of the dinosaur
c. how fast the dinosaur could walk or run
d. if the dinosaur walked on two or four legs

b. the size of the dinosaur
c. how fast the dinosaur could run or walk
d. if the dinosaur had two or four legs
Learn more about fossils at Denali National Park and Preserve.

Question 9

Black and white photo of a fossil footprint and camera lens cover

NPS Photo

Sometimes fossils can be found in the stones used in the construction of buildings and monuments. At Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, there is a stone bridge that has some fossil footprints of an ancient animal. What type of animal do you think made the footprints preserved in the bridge at Gettysburg?

a. saber-tooth cat
b. mammoth
c. dinosaur
d. shark

Question 10

Junior Paleontologists infographic (alt text on the page)

NPS Image

The image is an infographic for the National Park Service's Junior Paleontologist program. Text reads "Junior Paleontologists. Discover, Learn About and Protect Park Fossils." The illustration includes two rangers and three kids in a desert. One ranger is standing smiling and another is talking on a radio next to a kid who is pointing to a saber tooth cat skull in a rockface. A second kid with a backpack nearby is looking at a fossilized turtle shell with a magnifying glass. A third kid is holding a Junior Paleontologist activity book. The image includes an illustration of the Junior Paleontologist badge that kids can earn by completing the book at a participating national park.

National parks are great places to see and learn about fossils. The Junior Paleontologist Program is a fun way to learn about fossils and how to protect them. Which action is NOT a good way to protect fossils in a national park?

a. take a photograph of the fossil
b. pick up the fossil
c. draw a pciture of the fossil
d. tell a ranger about the fossil

b. pick up the fossil is not a good way to protect fossils in parks
Learn how you can become a Junior Paleontologist and help protect fossils in parks!


  • Fossilized insect
    Fossils & Paleontology

    Span every period of geologic time looking at life on the planet through fossils preserved in national parks.

  • Infographic reading
    Games and Challenges

    Test your knowledge or learn something new about national parks with games and challenges for all ages.

  • Group of smiling kids
    Kids in Parks

    National parks are great places to go on adventures exploring nature and history. Check out online resources for kids of all ages.

Last updated: April 9, 2020