Timeline of paleontology in West Virginia

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This timeline of paleontology in West Virginia is a chronologically ordered list events in the history of paleontological research occurring within or conducted by people from the U.S. state of West Virginia.


18th century

Claws of Megalonyx jeffersonii Megalonyx CasparWistar claw Griffe1799.jpg
Claws of Megalonyx jeffersonii



20th century

The anthracosaur Proterogyrinus may have left behind fossil footprints in West Virginia. Proterogyrinus NT.jpg
The anthracosaur Proterogyrinus may have left behind fossil footprints in West Virginia.




21st century


See also


  1. 1 2 3 Grady (1997); "Abstract", page 57.
  2. Sundberg, et al. (1990); "Abstract", page 111.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paleontology in West Virginia</span>

Paleontology in West Virginia refers to paleontological research occurring within or conducted by people from the U.S. state of West Virginia. West Virginia's fossil record begins in the Cambrian. From that time through the rest of the early Paleozoic, the state was at least partially submerged under a shallow sea. The Paleozoic seas of West Virginia were home to creatures like corals, eurypterids, graptolites, nautiloids, and trilobites at varying times. During the Carboniferous period, the sea was replaced by lushly vegetated coastal swamps. West Virginia is an excellent source of fossil plants due to these deposits. These swamps were home to amphibians. A gap in the local rock record spans from the Permian to the end of the Cenozoic. West Virginia was never the site of glacial activity during the Ice Age, but the state was home to creatures like mammoths, mastodons, and giant ground sloths. One local ground sloth, Megalonyx jeffersonii, was subject to the scholarly investigations of Thomas Jefferson, who misinterpreted the large-clawed remains as belonging to a lion-like predator. In 2008, this species was designated the West Virginia state fossil.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paleontology in Kentucky</span>

Paleontology in Kentucky refers to paleontological research occurring within or conducted by people from the U.S. state of Kentucky.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paleontology in Virginia</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paleontology in Pennsylvania</span>

Paleontology in Pennsylvania refers to paleontological research occurring within or conducted by people from the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The geologic column of Pennsylvania spans from the Precambrian to Quaternary. During the early part of the Paleozoic, Pennsylvania was submerged by a warm, shallow sea. This sea would come to be inhabited by creatures like brachiopods, bryozoans, crinoids, graptolites, and trilobites. The armored fish Palaeaspis appeared during the Silurian. By the Devonian the state was home to other kinds of fishes. On land, some of the world's oldest tetrapods left behind footprints that would later fossilize. Some of Pennsylvania's most important fossil finds were made in the state's Devonian rocks. Carboniferous Pennsylvania was a swampy environment covered by a wide variety of plants. The latter half of the period was called the Pennsylvanian in honor of the state's rich contemporary rock record. By the end of the Paleozoic the state was no longer so swampy. During the Mesozoic the state was home to dinosaurs and other kinds of reptiles, who left behind fossil footprints. Little is known about the early to mid Cenozoic of Pennsylvania, but during the Ice Age it seemed to have a tundra-like environment. Local Delaware people used to smoke mixtures of fossil bones and tobacco for good luck and to have wishes granted. By the late 1800s Pennsylvania was the site of formal scientific investigation of fossils. Around this time Hadrosaurus foulkii of neighboring New Jersey became the first mounted dinosaur skeleton exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. The Devonian trilobite Phacops rana is the Pennsylvania state fossil.

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