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The first question: “What are fossils?” Fossils are the remains of organisms or traces of organisms which lived at one point in history and afterwards where preserved in a solidified/rocky form. Some examples are skeletons and shells. Also ichno fossils (trace fossils) are considered to be fossils. Examples are imprints, tracks and burrows, etc. These traces provide information about the life and behaviour of the organisms who made them. As a fossil collector, you gather in essence, traces of a past life. All specimens dug up from the ground tell their story, a tremendously interesting story indeed. The science specialized in the study of fossils is called paleontology, which can be seen as the interface between geology and biology.
Collecting fossils can be an educational and versatile hobby. Chances are that during your career as an amateur paleontologist, you will come in contact with most if not all the aspects associated with collecting and studying fossils:
You learn fieldwork techniques, on the terrain, surrounded by nature, often in remote locations and distand countries. You start digging in the literature, in search of scientific information. You use optics, mechanical and chemical preparation in the lab. You come in contact with the best and worst of the free market. You are confronted with the challenges associated with managing a collection. When you do well, you will be able to create a bridge between the amateur and the scientific community. This way one can actually contribute scientifically to the expansion of knowledge about the existence of life on this planet.
Fossiel.net is an online platform /community that targets anybody who is, in one way or the other, affiliated with fossils. But our main target is to function as a general platform for the novice and advanced amateur paleontologists. The website offers a big variety of basic knowledge and more specific information through website links, articles, online discussions and interactive databases. Most of the online discussions take place on the community section of the website. This discussion platform is the online residence of a vivid public community where hobbyists can come into contact with each other, people can follow or participate in the discussions or just enjoy trip reports and pictures. Since fossiel.net went online more than a decade ago, it contributes to creating a network of people to help each other finding their way to information, fossil locations, museums, geological clubs etc.
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