A fossil is any evidence of past life, be it the remains of an organism’s body, a track, or a trace. Fossils are typically formed within sediment that becomes lithified (turns to rock), and are at least several thousand years old. However, not all fossils are fossilized, that is, have undergone some kind of change during preservation.
More than 500 million years of plant and animal evolution is represented by a rich diversity of forms and environments in this hall. Plant fossils include Paleozoic ferns, horsetails and conifers; a huge petrified tree stump from the Triassic; Cretaceous cycads, and leaves from Tertiary flowering plants. Corals, trilobites, bivalves, ammonites and crustaceans provide a glimpse into ancient oceans. Striking skeletons of fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals, highlight Texas through time.