A trace fossil is different from a bone or animal fossil. It is not of the animal or plant itself, instead it is a fossil of a trace left by the animal or plant long ago. A trace could be either a resting place, foot prints, evidence of eating habits, etc. Trace fossils are useful evidence for understanding an animal or plants habits and habitat. However, the organism which left the trace fossil is frequently unknown or difficult to identify.
Trace fossils have come to be just as important in providing useful information to scientists as the fossils that we normally think of (bones, shells, etc). They are a form of indirect fossil evidence, such as tracks, trails, burrows, etc, which reveal a whole new dimension of information about the lifestyle of ancient creatures- such as walking habits. In the case below, the tracks discovered by paleontologists revealed the existence of bipedalism in hominids prior to 3 million years ago, a hugely important anthropological discovery.
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