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North Dakota Earth Symbols

Pending Permission

Custer’s last stand in Montana reminds me of an amazing fossil site that was recently discovered in neighboring North Dakota.

North Dakota coat of arms

Not far from Bowman, North Dakota is a site where the bones of dinosaurs and paddlefish (Missouri’s state fish) are mixed together. The ancient creatures were apparently killed by the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs some 66 million years ago.

However, they weren’t killed directly by the visitor from outer space, which crashed into what is now Mexico. Rather, they were killed by earthquakes, tsunamis and tiny glass beads that rained down out of the sky.

If North Dakotans ever want a bigger-than-life state fossil, they might adopt some giant prehistoric crocodile. How many children would like to brag about having a state fossil that might have munched on T. rex?

For now, North Dakota’s humble state fossil is teredo petrified wood. Teredo is actually the name of a genus of shipworms. In other words, North Dakota’s state fossil is wood that was fossilized after shipworms bored holes in it. It’s a reminder that much of North Dakota lie under shallow seas during the Cretaceous Period, when dinosaurs last flourished.

Soil ˆ

North Dakota’s unofficial state soil is Williams. From prairie to pastures to cropland, Williams soils help make North Dakota an agricultural giant befitting its state motto.

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