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Mini-Museum of Geology & Natural History:

Selected Fossils

Museum Hours: 8:00am - 4:45pm EST weekdays; closed weekends and holidays.

Please call ahead if you wish to meet with a geologist: (304) 594-2331

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Price Fm brachs
Spirifer brachiopods Phylum: Brachiopoda
Age: lower Mississippian or upper Devonian
Locality: near Clover Lick, Pocahontas County, WV
Collected By: Ron McDowell
Size: ~2+ cm (~1 inch) across
Dinosaurs get all the glory, but brachs are where it's at! Dinosaurs were alive in the Cretaceous, Jurassic, and Triassic Periods, which together comprise the Mesozoic Era. Except for relatively recent Quaternary deposits, West Virginia's sedimentary rocks are much older than the ''Age of the Dinosaurs, '' and therefore dinosaur remains are not found in the rocks of West Virginia. West Virginia does have a few igneous intrusives that are Mesozoic and younger. A 2018 USGS Geologic Time Scale (PDF) showing age ranges for Precambrian, Devonian, Mesozoic, etc., is here.
The WVGES GeoEducation page has a wealth of information. Here is a section on the most commonly found fossils in West Virginia. The collection at the WVGES Mini-Museum has fossils dating from the Devonian, Mississippian, and Pennsylvanian, along with some younger fossils and dinosaur replicas. The museum is housed at the offices of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey (WVGES) and is curated by E. Ray Garton.
The study of fossils and past life is called Paleontology. Fossils are evidence of plant and animal life in the geologic past and they form in may ways. The most common fossils found in West Virginia were formed by molds, casts, and mineral replacement. Fossils formed by animals tend to be lumped into categories of ''body fossils'' or ''trace fossils.'' As the names imply, body fossils were formed from all or part of the animal itself, and trace fossils are the tracks, trails, burrows, feces, and feeding traces of animals.
Certain fossils can be important indicators to help geologists pinpoint the geologic time and perhaps even the specific formation they are observing. Some of the more unusual (and sometimes helpful) trace fossils we find in West Virginia include Pteridichnites biseriatus, Bifungites sp., and an unknown trace fossil. The Spirifer brachiopods shown on this page are indicators of a specific member of the Price Formation.
Crinoid image
Crinoids in the Devonian Oriskany Fm., located near our entryway
Lithostrotionella image
Lithostrotionella, the state ''gem'' from the Hillsdale Fm. in the Mississippian Greenbrier Group, Pocahontas County

Take the Fossil Quiz here! powerpoint icon PowerPoint, 8.3 MB - Large)

Links to WVGES and other Fossil Pages:

mastodon tooth, Mammut americanum
mastodon tooth, Mammut americanum
Class: Mammalia
Age: Pleistocene
Locality: Bowden Cave, Randolph County, WV
Donated By: Ray Garton
Museum ID: #151
Size: 75 mm x 70 mm (3.0 in x 2.8 in)
woolly mammoth tooth, Mammuthus primigenius (Blumenbach)
woolly mammoth tooth, Mammuthus primigenius (Blumenbach)
Class: Mammalia
Age: Pleistocene
Locality: Little Creek, WV
Donated By: WVU Geology Department
Museum ID: #152
Size: 240 mm x 90 mm x 175 mm (9.5 in x 3.5 in x 6.9 in)
ground sloth arm and claws, Megalonyx jeffersonii
ground sloth claws, Megalonyx jeffersonii
Class: Mammalia
Age: Pleistocene
Locality: Haynes Cave, Monroe County, WV
Donated By: Ray Garton
Museum ID: #160
Size: 260 mm x 150 mm (10.2 in x 5.9 in)
This specimen was described by Thomas Jefferson in 1799.
flat headed peccary, Platygonus compressus
flat headed peccary, Platygonus compressus
Class: Mammalia
Age: Pleistocene
Locality: Patton Cave, Monroe County, WV
Donated By: USNM
Museum ID: #154
Size: 279 mm x 190 mm (11.0 in x 7.5 in)
This specimen was Carbon 14 dated at 22,620 years.
reptile skull cast, Diadectes sp
reptile skull cast, Diadectes sp
Class: Amphibia
Age: Permian
Locality: Reedy Creek, Roane County, WV
Donated By: Ray Garton
Museum ID: #150
Size: 110 mm x 75 mm (4.3 in x 3.0 in)
tracks of pre-dinosaur, Dimetrodon berea (Tilton)
tracks of pre-dinosaur, Dimetrodon berea (Tilton)
Class: Reptilia
Age: Permian
Locality: Hughes River Bridge at Berea, Ritchie County, WV
Donated By: WVU Geology Department
Museum ID: #126
Size: 650 mm x 450 mm (25.6 in x 17.7 in)
gastropod
gastropod
Class: Gastropoda
Age: Pennsylvanian
Locality: Marion County, WV
Museum ID: #10
Size: 38 mm (1.5 in)
fern Leaf, Neuropteris sp
fern leaf, Alethopteris sp. and Neuropteris sp.
Class: Seed Fern
Age: Pennsylvanian
Locality: Tucker County, WV
Donated By: Dave Phillips
Museum ID: #68
Size: 279 mm x 229 mm (11.0 in x 9.0 in)
early shark tooth, Orthacanthus sp
early shark tooth, Orthacanthus sp.
Class: Chondrichthyes
Age: Pennsylvanian
Locality: Englands Run Rd, US Rt 50, Doddridge County, WV
Donated By: Ray Garton
Museum ID: #84
Size: 20 mm (0.8 in)
The Itmann Fossil, Stigmaria (side view)
The Itmann Fossil, Stigmaria
Class: Lycopoda
Age: Pennsylvanian
Locality: Itmann Mine, Wyoming County, WV
Donated By: Itmann Mine
Museum ID: #155
Size: 2.2 m x 1.9 m (7.2 ft x 6.2 ft)
The Itmann Fossil, Stigmaria (top view)
The Itmann Fossil (Form Genus Stigmaria) was discovered in 1974 in Consol's Itmann No. 1 Mine, Wyoming County, West Virginia. This ''cast'' fossil is a root system of a plant from the swamp forest of the Pennsylvanian Period (~300 million years old) and is located outside the WVGES building near the front door.
crinoid stems
crinoid stems
Age: Mississippian
Locality: Preston County, WV
Museum ID: #73
Size: 279 mm x 152 mm (11.0 in x 6.0 in)
amphibian, Greererpeton burkemorani
amphibian, Greererpeton burkemorani
Class: Amphibia
Age: Mississippian
Locality: Greer Quarry, Monongalia County, WV
Museum ID: #102
Size: 130 mm x 250 mm (5.2 in x 9.8 in)
blastoid, Pentremites sp
blastoid, Pentremites sp
Class: Blastoidea
Age: Mississippian
Locality: Mercer County, WV
Donated By: Dave Phillips
Museum ID: #12
Size: 35 mm x 35 mm (1.4 in x 1.4 in)
brachiopod
brachiopod
Class: Articulata
Age: Devonian
Locality: Pendleton County, WV
Museum ID: #13
Size: 90 mm x 70 mm (3.5 in x 2.8 in)
gastropod
gastropod
Class: Gastropoda
Age: Middle Devonian
Locality: Hampshire County, WV
Museum ID: #2
Size: 33 mm x 34 mm (1.3 in x 1.3 in)
glass sponge
glass sponge, Hydnoceras sp
Phylum: Porifera
Age: Devonian
Locality: Preston and Tucker Counties, WV
Loaned By: Donald, Randy, and Jean Rinehart
Museum ID: #294
Size: ~ 350 mm x 250 mm (~ 14 in x 10 in)
glass sponge
glass sponge, Hydnoceras sp
Phylum: Porifera
Age: Devonian
Locality: Preston and Tucker Counties, WV
Loaned By: Donald, Randy, and Jean Rinehart
Museum ID: #294
Size: ~ 115 mm (~ 4.5 in) in length)
trilobite, Odontocephalus aegeria
trilobite, Odontocephalus aegeria
Class: Trilobita
Age: Middle Devonian
Locality: Hardy County, WV
Donated By: Dave Phillips
Museum ID: #1
Size: 60 mm x 40 mm (2.4 in x 1.6 in)
trilobite, Phacops rana
trilobite, Phacops rana
Class: Trilobita
Age: Devonian
Locality: Hardy County, WV
Donated By: Dave Phillips
Museum ID: #14
Size: 33 mm x 30 mm (1.3 in x 1.2 in)
trilobite, Trimerus vanuxemi (Hall)
trilobite, Trimerus vanuxemi (Hall)
Class: Trilobita
Age: Devonian
Locality: Bobs Ridge, White Sulphur Springs, Greenbrier County, WV
Donated By: WVU Geology Department
Museum ID: #8
Size: 140 mm x 60 mm (5.5 in x 2.4 in)
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Museum Curator: E. Ray Garton: Curator@PrehistoricPlanet.com
Page last revised July 2019.
Please send web site questions, comments, or suggestions to webmaster.
WVGES address   WV Geological & Economic Survey
1 Mont Chateau Road
Morgantown, WV 26508
Phone: (304) 594-2331
Fax: (304) 594-2575
info@geosrv.wvnet.edu
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