Fossils & Minerals
|This web site, like many of the products of the Black Hills Institute, is intended to be educational and entertaining. Fossils, rocks and minerals are interesting collectibles, and can provide a rewarding and educational hobby. We strive to present all information here in a simple, non-technical manner. This is the same way we construct our fossil exhibits. We feel that many older museums give their visitors an 'out of reach' feeling, but here there is always something you can reach out and touch.
Each section listed on the column at the right links to a page with interesting tidbits of information about different types of fossils, minerals, meteorites, or geology in general. These pages reflect the primary areas of interest of our staff. Each provides some good, basic information about the primary topic. From each of these pages there are links to more specific information about a narrower topic. Often, there is also a slide show link to photos of specimens, either from our collections or pieces which we have worked on or sold.
You will also notice links on these pages to our sales area. You can follow these to casts, original fossils and minerals, or books and other literature for sale, that relate to the various topics we present. From time to time there will be pages which are inaccessible marked 'under excavation'. These pages either simply aren't finished yet, or are being updated.
Starting back in the Cambrian, animals with a vertebral column (fish) eventually led to greater complexity, spanning from amphibians to eventually, dinosaurs, birds and mammals. The vertebrates in this section are organized in descending order of complexity
Animals without backbones first appeared before the Cambrian Period. The Cambrian saw an 'explosion' of diversity, from which only a few groups have survived to the present day. Invertebrates are far more varied and abundant throughout Earth history than the more 'advanced' vertebrates.
Plants & Amber
Since the arrival of the first land plants in the mid-Paleozoic, this group has diversified and flourished. Common deciduous trees developed at the end of the Mesozoic, and grasses, which permitted herbivorous mammals to thrive, appeared even later. Amber and copal, fossilized tree resins, are best known for the broad selection of life-forms which they trapped and preserved.
Minerals, Meteorites & Geology
Geological processes control the environment on every scale. Recent findings show erosion and sedimentary deposits even on distant planets. Meteorites are earthly arrivals from outer space (possibly even our own solar system). Common minerals are the building blocks of all rocks on Earth, and the same are also found in meteorites and other planets.
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