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Maryland Earth Symbols

Maryland Earth Symbols(Dinosaur By Creator: Dmitry Bogdanov – dmitrchel@mail.ru, CC BY-SA 3.0, link Note: I modified the background.)

Maryland is one of the few Eastern states that don’t have an official shell . . . or does it? In fact, a shell with the scientific name Ecphora gardnerae was adopted as the official fossil shell.

Ecphora lived about five million years ago. This fossil snail was one of the first New World fossils to be illustrated in a scientific work in Europe. In fact, Europeans saw pictures of it in 1770, before the United States even existed.

In 1858, the fossilized teeth of a strange creature were discovered in Maryland. Scientists later determined that the teeth belonged to a dinosaur named Astrodon johnstoni. Marylanders declared Astrodon johnstoni their official state dinosaur in 1998, 140 years after its teeth were discovered.

Maryland’s state gem, the nondescript Patuxent River stone, is somewhat controversial. It has apparently been misrepresented an an agate, or maybe even agatized dinosaur bone. Geologists and rockhounds point out that agates and dinosaur bones are both almost impossible to find in Maryland. Some have suggested that quartzite would be a better choice.

Soil ˆ

One of the first named soil series, Sassafras is Maryland’s unofficial state soil. Sassafras soil is a deep, well-drained soil that is easy to work and warms up quickly in the spring. An important agricultural soil, it occurs on upland landscapes.

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