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Georgiacetus vogtlensis

Georgiacetus vogtlensis

Though scientists long believed that proto-whales may have been amphibious, the discovery of a nearly complete Georgiacetus skeleton by researchers at Georgia Southern University suggests that it was fully marine as depicted in this artist's rendering.  

Photograph by Nobu Tamura

Georgiacetus vogtlensis

Georgiacetus vogtlensis

Three individual Georgiacetus whales were unearthed from 40-million-year-old sediments during the construction of Plant Vogtle. Researchers named the fossils Goergiacetus vogtlensis, meaning "Georgia Whale from Plant Vogtle."

Courtesy of Georgia Southern University Museum

Georgiacetus vogtlensis

Georgiacetus vogtlensis

The living Georgiacetus whale was estimated to be eleven feet long, based on the skull, which was itself about thirty inches long. 

Courtesy Georgia Southern University Museum

Georgiacetus Whale

Georgiacetus Whale

The Georgiacetus whale, an early ancestor of the modern whale, lived in the shallow sea that covered Georgia during the Eocene epoch (of the Paleogene period). The whale's hind legs and hips were functional.

Photograph by Pamela J. W. Gore

Ammonite

Ammonite

Ammonites, now extinct, were a type of cephalopod found in the Coastal Plain during the Late Cretaceous. This specimen of Placenticeras benningi measures 10 centimeters in diameter and was found at the Eutaw Formation in Chattahoochee County.

Photograph by David R. Schwimmer

State Fossil

State Fossil

The state fossil of Georgia is the tooth of Carcharocles megalodon, a large shark that became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period. The pictured specimen, which dates to the Late Miocene, was found near Savannah and measures 11 centimeters.

Photograph by David R. Schwimmer

Late Cretaceous Oyster

Late Cretaceous Oyster

This specimen of Exogyra erraticostata, an oyster common during the Late Cretaceous period on Georgia's Coastal Plain, was found at the Blufftown Formation in Stewart County. It measures approximately 12 centimeters.

Photograph by David R. Schwimmer

Giant Crocodylian

Giant Crocodylian

This composite reconstruction of a skull of Deinosuchus rugosus, a giant crocodylian found on the Coastal Plain of Georgia during the Late Cretaceous, measures 1.1 meters. The crocodylians were larger than the carnivorous dinosaurs found along the coast and are believed to have been the top predators in the region around 82 to 75 million years ago.

From King of the Crocodylians, by D. R. Schwimmer. Reproduced by permission of David R. Schwimmer

Mastodon Tooth

Mastodon Tooth

This molar tooth of the mastodon Mammut americanum, with a crown length of 14 centimeters, was found in Stewart County. Both mastodons and mammoths roamed the Coastal Plain during the Ice Age.

Photograph by David R. Schwimmer

Late Cretaceous Oyster

Late Cretaceous Oyster

The Late Cretaceous oyster, Crassostrea cusseta, pictured alongside a hammer measuring 33 centimeters in length, could grow to 60 centimeters. This specimen was found at the Blufftown Formation in Stewart County.

Photograph by David R. Schwimmer

Bored Lignite

Bored Lignite

This specimen of Late Cretaceous wood, preserved as lignite, was found at the Eutaw Formation in Chattahoochee County. The wood contains holes that were bored by clams, or "shipworms."

Photograph by David R. Schwimmer

Late Cretaceous Clam

Late Cretaceous Clam

This fossil of a Late Cretaceous clam, Crassatellites roodensis, features a hole bored by a type of snail known as a naticid. Such holes were a cause of mortality for many clam species during this period.

Photograph by David R. Schwimmer

Crab Burrows

Crab Burrows

Fossilized crab burrows on Cumberland Island were formed in sand deposits during the Pleistocene. Such burrows are found throughout the barrier islands and are typically about one meter deep.

Photograph by David R. Schwimmer