Fossils Found in Missouri & Their Ages
- The official state fossil is a crinoid, a stalked echinoderm commonly known as a "sea lily." It was found in the waters that surrounded Missouri approximately 290 million years ago, a geographic era known as the Pennsylvanian Period. Sea lilies are often unearthed in Missouri limestone.
- The oldest fossils ever found in Missouri are from the Precambrian Period, which spans the time from 4.6 billion to 570 million years ago. The fossils are of stromatolites, the earliest record of life, which were formed from algae. Missouri contains mysterious fossils from the Cambrian Era (507 million to 505 million years ago), called climactichnites, that resemble motorcycle tracks.
- Magnolia, oak and moss fossils formed during the tertiary period of the Cenozoic Era, from 65 million to 2 million years ago. Large bones from mastodons and woolly mammoths, as well as vegetation and teeth from cold-climate organisms, date to the Quaternary Period, beginning 2 million years ago.