GeneralResearch

Difference Between Fossils and Artifacts

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Main Difference

The main difference between Fossils and Artifacts is that the Fossils are the preserved remnants of living beings, whereas Artifacts are the human-made things in the protected form.

Fossils vs. Artifacts

Fossils are the remains of living beings in the preserved form, whereas artifacts are the human-made things remnants. Fossils are in the form of bones, teeth, shells, and wood; on the other hand, examples of artifacts are different tools, weapons, toys, pottery, jewelry, etc. The history of the fossils dates back to billions of years. The history of artifacts dates back to the earliest civilizations of the world. The age of fossils is older than those of artifacts.

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The branch of science to study fossils is paleontology. Paleontologists and scientists read about the fossils. The study of artifacts is in the history and archeology subjects. Historians and archeologists consider artifacts.

Fossils have scientific value as well as historical value. Artifacts hold historical and anthropological significance. Fossils are of great importance as they determine the age, evolution, and life sequences of a specific organism. Artifacts are beneficial as they find out the culture, trend, and lifestyles, in any period of human history.

Fossils are the material remains of the decayed organisms in partially mineral form. Artifacts are made by stones, metal, clay, wood, or any other hard material. A fossil is a nature-made object that is remnant of different types of organisms. The artifact is human-made and an object of cultural value.

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Fossil is natural as it is the remaining part of an organism, i.e., its skeleton, some bones, teeth, any other hard surface, or even the animal structure carved in a rock. The artifact is made by humans with the help of the elements that witness the existence of the bygone era.

Comparison Chart

FossilsArtifacts
Fossils are the remnants of living beings in the preserved form.Artifacts are the remains of humans made stuff.
Age
Date back to billions of yearsDate back to the earliest civilizations
Branch of Study
PaleontologyHistory and archeology
Value
Scientific, historicalHistorical, anthropological
Kind of Object
Nature-madeHuman-made
Find Out
Age, evolution, and life form of a specific organismCulture, lifestyles, and development in any period of human history
Examples
Bones, teeth, shells, wood, etcAncient tools, weapons, pottery, jewelry, etc

What are the Fossils?

Fossils are known to be the preserved remains of living beings buried by the layers of rocks. The fossils can be of animals, plants, or other organisms from the remote past. The age of fossils can be many thousands to several billions of years. The typical examples of fossils are bones, shells, and woods. The mineral forms of organisms make up the fossils such as an exoskeleton, bones, and teeth. It holds great scientific and historical value.

The branch in which we study fossils is known as paleontology, and the person is investigating the fossils known as the paleontologist. Paleontologists study the fossils and determine its age. They reconstruct the history of the earth and its life with the help of this study. It is with the help of fossils that we come to know the extinct animal species, e.g., mammoths, dinosaurs, dodo birds, etc. The archaeologists who try to trace back the bygone era also study the fossils as their research objects.

A fossil can be of bacteria or a giant animal; hence its size could vary from microscopic to gigantic proportions. It does not always reveal the whole structure of an organism. It can only be a small or a considerable part of anybody. The size of fossils varies, and it can be from a single bacterial cell to gigantic trees or dinosaurs. The fossils are preserved, but the environmental conditions their preservation.

Sources of fossils are digging up the ground, and excavations.

What are the Artifacts?

Artifacts are the historical remains of things created by humans. It was dug from the ground or anywhere else. An artifact is the remnant of a human-made object, an object that is recovered later. It is recovered during an archaeological discovery long after the time it was made and being used. Archaeologists discovered several thousand artifacts since human history. Examples of artifacts are ancient tools, toys, weapons, pottery, jewelry, etc. It revealed so many eras and civilizations from different periods.

Artifacts can also be the personal belongings of an individual, such as buttons, slippers, clothes, etc. The human or animal bones with the signs of human modification also fall into the category of artifacts. Artifacts have significant cultural value as they reveal the cultures from the past. If we talk about the most famous artifacts, it is the Egyptian empire that dates back some 2,000 years ago.

Artifacts are usually sold at costly rates. But the countries owning these artifacts prohibit hoarding and selling of these items. They have an archaeological value as they reveal the cultural traits and skills of the people in the bygone era. Historians and archeologists study artifacts in the history and archeology subjects. It helps to determine the customs, lifestyles, development, norms, and values in human history. Artifacts are made up of stones, metal, clay, wood, or any other hard material.

Sources of Artifacts

  • Grave goods (that were buried with a body)
  • Votive offerings (object left in a sacred place)
  • Hoards (Objects purposely buried having retrieved later)
  • Any archaeological feature, g., walls, ditch, and pit

Key Differences

  1. Fossils are the remains of living beings in the preserved form; in contrast, artifacts are the remains of things created by humans.
  2. Fossil is natural as it is the remaining part of an organism, e., its skeleton, some bones, teeth, any other hard surface, or even the animal structure carved in a rock. In contrast, the artifact is made by humans with any hard material.
  3. The history of the fossils dates back to billions of years; on the contrary, the history of artifacts dates back to the earliest civilizations.
  4. The age of fossils is older than those of artifacts.
  5. Paleontologists and scientists read about the fossils; conversely, historians and archeologists study artifacts.
  6. Fossils have scientific and historical value; contrarily, artifacts that have historical and anthropological significance.
  7. Fossils determine the age, evolution, and life form of a specific organism; inversely, artifacts are beneficial to find out the culture, lifestyles, and development in any period of human history.
  8. Fossils are the material remains of the decayed organisms in partially mineral form, while artifacts are created by using stones, metal, clay, wood, or any other hard material.
  9. A fossil is a nature-made object; on the other side, an artifact that is human-made and an object of cultural value.

Conclusion

Fossils and artifacts are two terms associated with archeology and history. Both these objects are significant to study and know about the history of earth and life on earth. But both are different from one another based on their origin, makeup, and the type of information they give, etc.

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Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson