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Arkansas Fossils

A wide diversity of fossils may be found in Arkansas. The map shows where some of them have been found. Below the map is a list of known Arkansas fossils. It is very much an incomplete list, but it will grow with time. A link is supplied for every fossil which has been discussed in more detail thus far on Paleoaerie. Just click on the name and you will be taken to its description. Most of the descriptions were done as part of a Mystery Monday fossil identification series. You will quickly see that this list is heavily weighted towards vertebrates. That will change as I have more time to delve more deeply into the invertebrates. Partly this is due to the fact that many of our most common fossils are invertebrates which cannot be very closely identified, such as crinoid stems, which can only be identified any further than “crinoid” except possibly by crinoid experts. In those cases, going further into them will not serve the vast majority of people, and as I am not a crinoid expert, I couldn’t do it anyway. The other reason for this bias is that I am more familiar with vertebrate fossils. If anyone who knows a good bit about Arkansas invertebrates and would like to write an article for Paleoaerie, please let me know. Input from other knowledgeable people is always welcomed.

The following list does not precisely follow phylogenetic relationships. It is very simplified, designed to make it easier for nonspecialists to quickly find organisms they are interested in. Perhaps in the future, a phylogenetic map showing more detailed relationships will be added, but that will not be in the foreseeable near future.

If you know of fossils that are not on the list, please contact me and it can be added to the list.

 

Arkansas Geologicl Survey regional map, annotated with reported fossils.

Arkansas Geologicl Survey regional map, annotated with reported fossils.

 

Stromatolites microbial algae mats

 

Plants Calamites, Lepidodendron

 

Porifera

Demospongia Haplistion sphaericumVirgaspongia ichnata, Cliona

Hexactinellida (glass sponges)  Stioderma hadra

Cnidaria – tabulate and rugose (horn) coral

 

Arthropoda

Arachnomorpha  – trilobites, other chelicerates

Crustacea – ostracods, barnacles (Brachylepas, Virgiscalpellum), copepods, decapods (crayfish, Imocaris tuberculata)

Insecta –  Phylloxerids (aphids), Blattodea (cockroaches)

Formicinae (ants) – Protrechina carpenteri

 

Annelida – Serpula (polychaete)

 

Mollusca

Cephalopoda ammonites, goniatites, nautiloids (Orthoceras, Rayonnoceras)

Gastropoda (snails)

Bivalvia (clams) Exogyra ponderosa, Exogyra costata, Gryphaea, Ostrea franklini, Ostrea fulcata, Nuculana

 

Lophophorates

Bryozoa Archimedes

Brachiopoda StrophomenidsSpirifers, Productids, Lingula

 

Echinodermata  – Crinozoa (crinoids), Echinozoa (sea urchins), Blastozoa (sea urchin-like, such as Pentrimites), Asterozoa (sea stars)

 

HemichordataGraptolites

 

ConodontGnathodus, Cavusgnathus

 

 Fish

Actinopterygii – Lepisosteus, Arius, Trichiurus, Sphyraena, Diaphyodus, Enchodus, Paralbula, Pycnodus, Hadrodus, Stephanodus, Protosphyraena

Chondrichthyes – Aetobatis (eagle ray), Myliobatis (sting ray), OzarcusGinglymostom, Dasyatis, Abdounia, Galeocerdo, Galeorhinus, Carcharias, Prionodon, Pristis, Hemipristis, Dicrenodus, Cladodus

 

 Reptilia

Lepidosauria – Mosasaurus, Platecarpus Elasmosaurus

Squamata  – Pterosphenus (Choctaw giant sea snake)Coluber, Pituophis, Crotalus

Testudinata – Prionochelys, Trionychid, Chedighaii, Toxochelys

Crocodylia – Goniopholid

Dinosauria – Acrocanthosaurus, “Arkansaurus”, Titanosaur

Aves – Hesperornis

 

Mammalia

Xenarthra – Megalonyx (giant ground sloth), Dasypus (armadillo)

Afrotheria –  Mammut (mastodon), Mammuthus (Mammoth)

Boreoeutheria

     Pantolestes

Carnivora

Feliformia – Smilodon fatalis (“saber-toothed tiger“), Lynx rufus, Panthera onca , Puma, Miracinonyx studeri

Caniformia – Canis (C. lupus, the gray wolf and C. dirus, the dire wolf), Canis armbrusteri, Canis latrans, Vulpes (fox), Procyon lotor (raccoon), Urocyon cinereoargenteus, Mephitis mephitis, Mustela frenata, Mustela erminea, Mustela vision, Pekania diluviana, Brachyprotoma obtusata, Arctodus (giant short-faced bear), Ursus americanus, Spirogale putorius (eastern spotted skunk)

Glires – Lepus americanus(rabbit), Lepus alleni, Sylvigilus floridanus, Castor canadensis (beaver), Peromyscus, Microtus paroperarius, Microtus llanensis, Tamiasciurus, Ondatra, Geomys burasrius, Reithrodontomys, Neotoma ozarkensis, Ondatra annectens, Pitymys cumberlandensis, Spermophilus, Marmota monax, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus, Erethizon dorsatum, Scalopus 

Chiroptera (bats)– Eptesicus fuscus, Myotis leibi

Cetioartiodactyla – Basilosaurus (primitive whale), Cervus, Mylohyus, Odocoileus virginianus, Diplobunops, Bootherium bombifrons

Perissodactyla – Equus scotti

Soricomorpha – Blarina brecicauda, Scalopus aquaticus (eastern mole), Sorex cinereus, Sorex funeus, Sorex minutus, Sorex monticolus

 

 

 

 

 

 


4 Comments

  1. Steve Bone says:

    Just south of Greenland is an old section of highway 71 south. The oldest part of the road goes across an old iron bridge and runs by a church. The river bed near the bridge contains a deposit of sharks teeth so I’ve been told. For what it’s worth under the Walmart parking lot on highway 62 west in Fayetteville are some large ammonite fossils. I’ve actually seen those. Good hunting and please let me know of good spots to look… preferably ones with owners that don’t shoot on sight. 🙂

    • paleoaerie says:

      Thanks for the tips! Fayetteville is actually famous for having some of the largest straight-shelled ammonoid fossils ever found in the world. It is a great place to hunt for fossils. The only hard part of fossil hunting around there is avoiding Federal National Forest land and unwelcome private owners:). But some amazing fossils have been found in some interesting places. An eight foot ammmonoid shell was found in a drainage ditch beside a highway near Fayetteville, which is public property and open for anyone to collect. Actual reports are a bit confused as to exactly where as they say Interstate 540 in Fayetteville, although I-540is in Fort Smith, not Fayetteville, but at any rate, any ditch that has shale in it around northwest Arkansas has the potential for some interesting fossils. A lot of people collect along I-65 around Leslie. That is probably the most popular collecting area. Any of the roadcuts along there have produced lots of fossils, including a world-famous shark fossil by the name of Ozarcus.

      If you get in touch with the people of the Central Arkansas Gem, Mineral, and Geology Society (CAGMAGS), they sponsor a lot of collecting trips. The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville Geology Club is also pretty active usually and may sponsor trips. I don’t often get to that part of the state as much as I would like, but I will be getting up there a few times in the next couple of months, so I may hear more this summer. If you hear more, please let us know.

  2. Lucas monroe says:

    I found a stand fossle could you help me identify it?

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