National Fossil Day

Although National Fossil Day isn’t a holiday that everyone is familiar with, it is one that people who appreciate the scientific and educational value of fossils might want to consider celebrating. This holiday is celebrated annually towards the middle of October—on the Wednesday that falls in the second full week of October.

The History of National Fossil Day

National Fossil Day is a holiday that was first celebrated on October 13, 2010. It was launched during Earth Science Week and was started by a coalition of almost 400 partners, including not only the American Geosciences Institute and the National Park Service but also a collection of educational institutions, museums, and other groups.

The following year, this holiday was celebrated on October 12, 2011, with numerous events launched by universities, museums, and nonprofit organizations. It has been a holiday ever since.

Facts About Fossils

Anyone with a deep and abiding love for fossils might want to take a look at some of the most interesting facts about the remnants of living creatures that once lived long ago.

Some of the Oldest Fossils Are Actually Bacteria

What some people don’t realize is that some of the oldest fossils aren’t dinosaurs, birds, or reptiles but are actually bacteria. Scientists have been studying sedimentary rocks in Greenland that contain some of the oldest fossils on Earth—bacteria that lived approximately 3.7 billion years ago.

The Bone Wars Lasted for 15 Years

Another thing that might be surprising to some is that there was actually something called the Bone Wars. This was a 15-year period also known as the Great Dinosaur Rush. This period ran from 1877 to 1892, and it wasn’t a real war but a rivalry between Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh—two rival paleontologists.

Even though this wasn’t a real war, it doesn’t mean that the two paleontologists didn’t take extreme measures to discover and unearth some of the most prized dinosaur fossils in the world. Measures included everything from outright theft to bone tampering and bribery.

How to Celebrate National Fossil Day

This holiday is easy to celebrate. All a person has to do is visit a local museum that displays fossils—either in person or virtually over the Internet. Not only are there museums that specialize in preserving and displaying fossils, but there are also several collections that can be accessed online.

Some of the online museums where fossils can be viewed include the Virtual Fossil Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, and the American Museum of Natural History.

People can also use the hashtag #NationalFossilDay on all of their social media accounts or take part in the National Fossil Day Art Contest that is held every year. Contestants can enter and read the rules of the contest on the National Fossil Day website.

When is it?
This year (2024)
October 16 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
October 15 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
October 11 Wednesday
Nature & Environment