State Fossils of America

virginia state fossil chesapecten jeffersonius
Virginia State Fossil Chesapecten jeffersonius from the Kchodl Collection photo

State fossils began in 1974 with the saber-toothed cat, Smilodon californicus, in California and took off from there. In the 1980s, states began in earnest to add fossils to their list of designated symbols. In many cases, it was school teachers and students who suggested the state fossils. These fossils are not necessarily the most common finds in the state, but they are ostensibly the most famous or well-known.

According to the National Park Service, here is a list of the official state fossils. A good list to keep on hand!

State Fossils from A to Z


In 1984, Alabama designated Basilosaurus cetoidesa prehistoric whale of the Eocene.


In 1986, Alaska designated Mammuthus primigeniusthe Pleistocene woolly mammoth.


In 1988, Arizona designated Araucarioxylon arizonicuma petrified wood of the Triassic.


The Pleistocene Smilodon californicus is the famous saber-toothed cat generally found in the LaBrea Tar Pits.

Saber tooth tiger skull, with long white front teeth.


In 1982, Colorado designated the Jurassic spiked tail Stegosaurus stenops.


Because of the large number of dinosaur trackways discovered there, in 1991 Connecticut designated Eubrontes giganteusa dinosaur footprint.


In 1996, Delaware designated the Cretaceous Belemnitella americana.


The Florida state fossil is pending approval — the Eocene echnoid, Eupatagus antillariumAKA a Sea Biscuit. Florida’s agatized coral, the official state stone, is also considered a fossil.


In 1976, Georgia designated the Cretaceous to Miocene shark tooth.


In 1988, Idaho designated Equus simplicidensa Pliocene-aged horse.


In 1989, Illinois designated the Pennsylvanian soft-bodied “Tully Monster,” Tullimonstrum gregariumIt was originally found in 1958 by Francis Tully.


In 1986, Kentucky adopted the Ordovician to Mississippian brachiopods.


In 1976, Louisiana designated the Oligocene petrified palm wood Palmoxylon.


In 1985, Maine designated the Devonian vascular plant Pertica quadrifariaThe plants were first discovered in the Trout Valley Formation in 1968 in Baxter State Park.


In 1984, Maryland designated the Ecphora quadrocosta a Miocene predatory snail, but there has been a name change. It is now known as Ecphora gardnerae.


There have been so many different types of Jurassic dinosaur tracks found in Massachusetts that the legislature designated dinosaur tracks in 1980.


In 2002, Michigan designated the Mamut Americanumthe Mastodon. The popular “Petoskey Stone” polished coral is the state stone.

petosky stone michigan state fossil
Petosky stone, Michigan state fossil. Adobe Stock photo


In 1981, Mississippi designated two Eocene whales – Basilosaurus cetoides and Zygorhiza kochii.


In 1989, Missouri designated the Pennsylvanian age crinoid Delocrinus amissouriensis.


The Cretaceous duckbilled dinosaur Maiasaura peeblesorum was designated in 1985.


Designated in 1967, Pleistocene Mammoths, Archidskodon imperator have been found in nearly every county.


Designated in 1977, the Triassic Ichtyosaur marine predatory reptile called Shonisaurus popularis was originally found in 1928.

New Jersey

Designated in 1991, the Cretaceous Hadrosaurus foulkii was originally unearthed in 1858 and was the first mounted dinosaur anywhere in the world in 1868.

New Mexico

Discovered in 1875, New Mexico has the Coelophysis bauri as the state fossil.

New York

The rare Silurian Sea Scorpion Eurypterus remipes was designated in 1984.

new york state fossil eurypterus remipes
New York State Fossil Eurypterus remipes from the Kchodl Collection photo

North Carolina

In 2013, North Carolina designated the Carcharadon Megalodon tooth.

North Dakota

In 1967, the Paleocene Teredo petrified wood became the state fossil.


In 1985 Ohio designated the Ordovician invertebrate Isotelus maximus trilobite. In 2020, the Devonian Placoderm fish Dunkleosteus terrelli became the state vertebrate fossil.

ohio state fossil
Ohio state fossil – Isotelus maximus


In 2000, the Jurassic therapod dinosaur Saurophaganax maximus was designated state fossil and state dinosaur in 2006.


The Miocene conifer leaf Metasequoiaalso called “Dawn Redwood,” was designated in 2005.


In 1988, the Devonian trilobite Phacops rana became the state fossil.

pennsylvania state fossil phacops trilobite
Pennsylvania state fossil Phacops trilobite from the Kchodl Collection photo

South Carolina

In 2014, the Columbian Mammoth Mammuthus columbi was designated.

South Dakota

In 1988, the Cretaceous three-horned Triceratops horridus ousted the Mesozoic Cycad plant as state fossil.


In 1998, Tennessee designated the Cretaceous Pterotrigonia thoracica bivalve.


The state dinosaur Paluxysaurus jonesi was designated in 2009. The state stone is an Oligocene palm wood fossil.


The Jurassic predator Allosaurus fragilis was designated state fossil in 1988 and state dinosaur in 2018.


The Pleistocene Beluga whale called Delphinapterus leucas is the state marine fossil. It was originally found in 1849 over 150 miles from the ocean. In 2014 the act was amended to include the state terrestrial fossil, Mammuthus primigenius.


In 1993, the Miocene to Pliocene bivalve scallop, Chesapecten jeffersonius was named.


In 1998, the Pleistocene Mammuthus columbi mammoth was designated state fossil and in 1975, petrified wood became the state gem.

West Virginia

The famous giant ground sloth Megalonyx jeffersoni became the state fossil in 2008. The fossil Mississippian coral is named the state gem.


In 1985, the Ordovician to Silurian age Calymene celebra trilobite was named.

wisconsin state fossil
Calymene trilobite, Wisconsin state fossil.


The Herring-like, Eocene age Knightia eocaena fossil fish was designated state fossil in 1987 and in 1994, Cretaceous Triceratops horridus was designated state dinosaur.

Note: In Washington D.C., a single vertebra from the cretaceous, Capitalsaurus, was discovered in 1898 while doing sewer work. In 1998 it was designated the District of Columbia’s state fossil.

This story about state fossils previously appeared in Rock & Gem magazine. Click here to subscribe. Story by Joseph J. “PaleoJoe” Kchodl.


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