Fossils, Paleontology, and Geoarchaeology

Kansas rocks are full of fossils, the remains of plants or animals that have been preserved in rock. Through fossil finds, geologists and paleontologists piece together evidence of earlier life and landscapes on Earth.

The backbone of history

Vertebrate fossils—dinosaurs, sharks, and giant marine reptiles, among others—are common in Kansas rocks, particularly in the Niobrara Chalk of the Smoky Hills.

A crowded past

Invertebrate fossils are much more numerous, conjuring visions of ancient life on crowded seafloors or in tropical swamps millions of years ago. Limestones throughout the state are loaded with invertebrate fossils, from tiny fusulinids to clams to corals.



Clockwise, from top left: Delocrinus, Mytiloides, Acanthoceras, Meganeuropsis, trilobite, and bryozoan.