Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Amphibian
Cold-blooded tetrapods that breathe by means of gills in the early stages of life and by means of lungs in the later stages of life.
Anapsid
A reptile with no post-orbital openings. Example: Turtle.
Appendages
Legs, arms, tails, or fins on an animal.
Arthropleura
The largest invertebrate of all time measuring up to 6 feet long and 2.5 feet wide. It thrived in the Carboniferous period. Only the trackways have been found in the Joggins area.
Arthropod
Any one of a group of solitary marine, freshwater, and aerial invertebrates belonging to the phylum Arthropoda, characterized chiefly by jointed appendages and segmented bodies. Among the typical arthropods are crustaceans, chelicerates, and myriapods.

Bedrock
A general term for the rock, usually solid, that underlies soil or other unconsolidated, superficial material.
Bivalve
Molluscs with two valves that are held together by ligaments of tough material.
Brachiopods
The difference between these bivalves is the dissimilarity in the two shells. These forms ranged in the geological column from the Cambrian down to the present. The phylum Brachiopoda is divided into two classes. Class Inarticulata includes the primitive, "unhinged" brachiopods, while the class Articulata possesses a well-developed hinge structure for articulation of the valves.

Carapace
The covering on the back of a crab; the covering on a turtle shell.
Carboniferous Period
A geological period that lasted from 360-290 million years ago.
Carbonization
A type of fossilization where the plant matter is replaced with carbon.
Casts And Molds
A copy of a fossil made to show what that fossil looked like.
Coal
Fossil peat, a layered rock composed largely of chemically and physically altered plant remains mixed with a lesser amount of inorganic material (ash).
Concretion
A lump of rock that usually houses a fossil.
Conifers
They are hardwood trees that first arrived in the Carboniferous Period.
Coprolites
Fossilized animal droppings.
Cross section
A diagram or drawing that shows features transected by a given plane; specifically, a vertical section drawn at right angles to the longer axis of a geologic feature.
Crustacean
Like a crab or shrimp, they come from the sea.

Dendrerpeton
The most common vertebrate found in Joggins. Of the 200 partial skeletons, over half of them are Dendrerpeton.
Devonian
A Geological Period that began about 345 million years ago in the Paleozic era. The insects and vertebrates made their first appearances during this time.
Diapsid
A reptile that has two post-orbital openings. Ex: Lizard.
Dinosaur
Any reptile of the subclass Archosauria distinguished from other reptiles especially by features of the pelvic bones. Dinosaurs were carnivorous and herbivorous. They also did not fly or swim.They died out at the end of the Cretaceous Period 65 million years ago.

Era
A large period of geological time that includes eleven separate periods.
Evolution
The process by which a living organism changes over a period of time into something different.
Exoskeleton
Coming from the Greek meaning "outer skeleton", it is made up out of chitin and is found to make up the body of Arthropods.
Extinction
The total disappearance of a species of plant or animal. Most widely known is the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Fauna
The entire animal population, living or fossil, of a given area, environment, formation, or time span.
Flood Plain
The portion of a river valley built of sediments deposited by the river and ocassionally covered by river flood waters.
Flora
The entire plant population of a given area, environment, formation, or time span.
Fossil
Any remains, trace, or imprint of a plant or animal that has been preserved in the Earth's crust since some past geological or prehistoric time; loosely, any evidence of past life.
Fossilization
This is the process by which an animal or plant or any trace of its existance is preserved within a rock.

Gastropods
A class of molluscs that have a coiled shell. Example: Snail
Geology
The study of the planet Earth - the materials of which it is made, the processes that act on those materials, the products formed, and the history of the planet and its life forms since its origin. Geology considers the physical forces that act on the Earth, the chemistry of its constituent materials, and the biology of its past inhabitants as revealed by fossils.
Group
The formal lithostratigraphic unit next in rank above formation.

Hylonomus
The oldest reptile in the world was found inside fossilized tree trunks in Joggins. It was found by Sir William Dawson and Sir Charles Lyell.
Horsetail
A modern-day representative of the Calamites plant.

Ichnofauna
The fauna that make trackways.
Ichnology
The study of trace fossils, especially the study of fossil tracks.
Index Fossil
A fossil that is specific to one geographic era or geological time.
Invertebrate
An animal belonging to the Invertebrata, i.e. without a backbone, such as the molluscs, arthropods, and coelenterates.
Ironstone Nodule
A lump of mud that has been replaced by siderite and usually has beautiful fossils preserved inside it. The best are from Mazon Creek, Illinois.

Joggins
Located on the Bay of Fundy, Joggins is home to the earliest reptiles in the world. It is known for being one of the best outcropping of fossil bearing rocks in the world.
Jurassic Period
A geological period that lasted from 206-144 million years ago. Dinosaurs were common in this period.

K-T boundary
The boundary where all the dinosaurs died off.Probably caused by a meteorite.

Labyrinthodontes
Beginning with the upper Devonian and ending with the Triassic period, these amphibians were the oldest dominant group of air breathing, four legged animals.
Lithology
(a) The description of rocks, esp. in hand specimen and in outcrop, on the basis of such characteristics as color, mineralogic composition, and grain size. (b) The physical character of a rock.
Lower Cove
A small community North of Joggins that allows people access to the Joggins Fossil Cliffs.
Lepidodendron
These fossils are of the common Lycopod, which flourished during the Carboniferous period. It was a giant plant, and the various parts have been given different biological names because they are fossilized separately.
Lycopod
A giant tree from the Carboniferous Period.

Mandible
The lower jaw has two halves, left and right.
Megafossils
All forms of invertebrates and vertebrates remains that you can see with the naked eye.
Megasecoptera
Also known as a "Mayfly". It is one of the rarely found insects from the Carboniferous period.
Mesozoic
An era of geological time containing the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Microfossils
All fossils which are examined under a microscope.
Microsaur
An order of lepspondylous amphibians characterized by small size (thus the "micro") and a salamander or snake-like body form. Earlier literature includes early and primitive reptiles in this group which is erroneous.
Mississipian Period
Upper Carboniferous period about 300 MYA. Some rock of this type are found in Cape Breton and New Brunswick.
MYA
A term used in geology to denote age: millions of years ago.

Nodes
An attachment on a plant where the leaf hits the stem.

Otozoum
The foot of a Prosauropod.
Ornithischians
The extinct order of Archosaurs, one of two which made up the dinosaurs.

Palaeobotany
The study of plant life of the geological history.
Palaeontology
The study of life in past geological time, based on fossil plants and animals and including phylogeny, their relationships to existing plants, animals, and environments, and the chronology of the Earth's history.
Paleozoic
The era containing the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous and Permian periods. It is usually divided into upper and lower with three periods in each division.
Pangaea
Name of the single land mass when all the continents were forced together.
Parrsboro
A community along the Minas Basin that is well known for its dinosaur fossils from the Triassic Period.
Pelvic
Also known as the hip.
Pennsylvanian Period
Lower Carboniferous period about 350 MYA. Some rock of this type are found in Joggins and Parrsboro.
Permian
The period between the Carboniferous period and the Triassic period.
Petrification
The process of turning organic materials into rock by replacing the organic material with minerals.
Petrified
A process of fossilization in which the cells of an organism are replaced by minerals.
Prosauropod
A long neck herbivore whose bones are very common in Parrsboro.
Pseudofossil
A false fossil, often just a tempting looking rock.

Quetzalcoatlus
The largest flying animal of all time .It had a wing span of 40 ft.
Quarry
A place were mining goes on. There are fossils in the rock sometimes that the miners throw away. It's a good place to look.

Reptile
Any vertebrate of the class Reptilia; cold-blooded tetrapods that are air-breathing at all stages of development. Range: Pennsylvanian to present.

Saurischia
One of the two orders of Dinosaurs.
Sediment
(a) Solid fragmental material that originates from weathering of rocks. (b) Strictly, solid material that has settled down from a state of suspension in a liquid.
Sigillaria
This is the name for the leaves of a Lepidodendron.
Stratigraphy
The science of rock strata. It is concerned not only with the original succession and age relations of rock strata but also with their form, distribution, lithologic composition, fossil content, geophysical and geochemical properties.
Strobus
This comes from the Greek word meaning "cone".
Synapsid
A mammal-like reptile with one post-orbital opening.

Tail-drag
The mark made by the dragging of a tail, often seen as a fossil between footprints.
Taxonomy
The science of classification of organisms.
Tetrapod
A four footed animal.
"TimeLine"
The geological timescale represents time of the earths history. Most of our timeline represents eventswhen fossils are found.
Trace Fossil
A sedimentary structure consisting of a fossilized track, trail, burrow, tube, boring, or tunnel resulting from the life activities (other than growth) of an animal, such as a mark made by an invertebrate moving, creeping, feeding, hiding, browsing, running, or resting on or in soft sediment. It is often preserved as a raised or depressed form in sedimentary rock.
Trackway
A continuous series of tracks left by a single organism.
Triassic Period
A geological period that lasted from 250-206 million years ago.

Unconformity
Is when two rocks of different ages are side by side.

Valve
A section of a two part bivalve or brachiopods shell.
Vertebrate
Any animal with a backbone.

Wasson's Bluff
Location of the oldest Dinosaurs in Canada, just outside of Parrsboro Nova Scotia. Home of some of the earliest mammal-like reptiles in the world.

Xylobius
A rare fossil found in the carboniferous. It is well known as a millepede.

Yucatan peninsula
The supposed impact site of the meteor that destroyed the dinosaurs.

Zeilleria
A Carboniferous plant that is very small and delicate.


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