Paleontology (Fossil/Rock) Collection
The paleontology collections of Georgia Southern University are held in the Department of Geology and Geography. The collections primarily include fossils of Georgia’s coastal plain, including nearly 5,000 invertebrate and 1,500 vertebrate fossils ranging in age from 85 million years to 10,000 years old. One of the most significant fossils held in the collection is the mosasaur Tylosaurus proriger, an extinct marine reptile. T. proriger is one of the most complete mosasaurs known, and its acquisition by the university in the late 1970s was the primary impetus for establishing the Georgia Southern University Museum. In 1983, another fossil of international significance, Georgiacetus vogtlensis, was discovered by Georgia Southern paleontologists at Plant Vogtle in Burke County, Georgia, and added to the collections. G. vogtlensis is one of the oldest whales in North America, at 42 million years in age. It is an important fossil for the study of whale evolution because it shows features characteristic of both semi- and fully-aquatic mammals. Current efforts to build the collections are focused on recovering Pleistocene fossils from Georgia’s barrier islands and ancient whale fossils from the Ocala Limestone formation in southern Georgia.
Last updated: 6/28/2013