Mini-Museum of Geology & Natural History,
West Virginia Dinosaurs?
Dinosaurs, flying reptiles named pterosaurs, and aquatic reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs lived in what geologists call the Mesozoic era which was from 248 to 65 million years ago.
Other than Pleistocene (Ice Age) deposits such as marls and travertine found in limestone caves, the youngest rocks in West Virginia are from the Permian era at about 290 million years ago. Thus,
there are no rocks found in West Virginia that are of the correct age to contain dinosaur fossils. In short, our rocks are too old to have dinosaurs. The younger Mesozoic rocks have eroded away
taking with it any remains of dinosaurs that may have existed in West Virginia. However, we have found the ancestors of dinosaurs in West Virginia. Rocks from the Mississippian through the
Permian age contain a rich record of four-legged amphibians and reptiles that were ancestors of the dinosaurs. Fossils of animals like Dimetrodon, Edaphosaurus, Eryops,
Diploceraspis, and Greererpeton, for example, have been found in West Virginia.
While dinosaurs have not been found in West Virginia rocks, we do have them on display at the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey (WVGES) Museum. We have the only authentic dinosaur
skeleton in the state on exhibit. This is an Edmontosaurus (hadrosaur, duckbill) found in North Dakota which is 8 feet high and 16 feet long. We have replica skulls of Tyrannosaurus rex,
Triceratops, and Allosaurus to name a few and real dinosaur eggs. Our dinosaur exhibits are expanding and we invite you to visit the museum at Mont Chateau and online.
Authentic Dinosaur Skeleton (Recovered from Bowman County, North Dakota)
Museum Curator: E. Ray Garton: Curator@PrehistoricPlanet.com
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Page last revised: August 2, 2011