Fossils are not always that easy to determine. From the time of the
ancient Greeks until 1600's, fossils were thought to be oddities of
nature. Shiny, button-shaped fossil teeth from fossil fish were thought
to come from the heads of living toads. Clam fossils were hoof marks of
Fossils were also explained through myths and stories. Ammonites,
a type of extinct sea animal, were believed to be coiled snakes
turned to stone by a saint. The fossil tusk of the narwhal, a small
whale, was for many years thought to be from the magical unicorn.
Fossil oysters were nicknamed the Devil's Toenails.
When humans discovered there was a connection between fossils and now
extinct species, it was a breakthrough in understanding the significance
of fossils and geologic time.