25 Most Bizarre Fossils Ever Discovered

Fossils are some of the Earth’s most useful prehistoric remnants, giving us a window to the daily life of creatures which lived millions of years ago. It has become a common sight to see popular fossils such as those of Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex in museums, but what is much less known are the many strange and bizarre fossils which paleontologists have discovered, especially recently. These fossils have been kept – whether by ash or amber or sand – in a state clear enough for us to study and learn from.

Fossilization is a complicated and time-consuming process. It normally happens when sediments are compacted under intense pressure combined with the replacement of organic matter by silica and other materials in a process referred to as petrification. Since most tissue, including skin, organs, and muscle, decays before full fossilization can occur, we mostly find bones. Though there are plenty of bones on this list, we’ve also included a host of other bizarre fossils. (Did someone say fossilized sperm? Oh, we did.) You’ll likely be shocked at some of the weird fossils on this list; ones that unfortunately don’t get as much media attention as they should, such as a turtle the size of a helicopter and an ancient arthropod orgy. Read on to discover the 25 Most Bizarre Fossils Ever Discovered.

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About 74 million years ago, a Velociraptor and Protoceratops were locked in a fierce duel in present-day Mongolia. The Velociraptor plunged its rear claws deep into the neck of the Protoceratops which responded by trying to rip the former's arm off. The two were likely covered by a collapsing sand dune, fossilized in fighting stances that paleontologists amazingly discovered while digging them up.

Velociraptor and Protoceratops fightingSource: New Scientist, Image: Wikipedia

Though researchers most often find bones of fossilized animals, diggers in Antarctica found something even weirder: sperm. Dating back 50 million years, the sperm is attributed to a collared worm and is the oldest animal sperm yet discovered. Though such organic matter would normally easily break down, the worm's reproductive methods of shooting the sperm and eggs into a protective cocoon helped preserve this bizarre fossil discovery for ages.

animal spermSource: Discover Magazine, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Scientists have discovered a 500 million year-old eye in southern Australia. The delicately-preserved compound eye (like a fly's) has about 3,000 lenses, significantly better than the majority of its fellow creatures at the time. Paleontologists aren't sure which animal it belongs to, but it does show that very ancient creatures were indeed capable of having very powerful vision.

compound eyeSource: Phys, Image: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab via Flickr

The 1994 discovery of a fossilized oviraptor sitting on her eggs changed our understanding of dinosaurs forever. Previously, it was only speculated that some dinos sat on their eggs (like today's chickens do) to incubate them. This perfectly discovered fossil from Mongolia proved the assumption to be true.

Oviraptor_SenckenbergSource: New Scientist, Image: commons.wikimedia.org

"Til death do us part" proved true for two ancient turtles. Found in an ancient volcanic lake in western Germany, these two turtles were doing the good deed as they sank deeper into the lake in coital bliss. Since it was a volcanic lake, the deeper waters were toxic to the turtles who quietly died, still locked together in the mating position, well-preserved by the highly toxic waters which did them in.

mating turtlesSource: New Scientist, Image: en.wikipedia.org

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