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Ohio Earth Symbols

Ohio State GemNellie Blue Flint (left) is essentially restricted to the Nellie area of northwestern Coshocton County. (Flint & Arrowhead: Both photos by James St. John, CC BY 2.0; flintlink. Arrowheadlink.)

Ohio’s state gem, flint, has a Native American connection. Arrowheads, knives, and other items were carved out of flint for thousands of years. Ohio’s famous Flint Ridge was a popular place for obtaining flint.

Scientists have found objects made of Flint Ridge flint as far west as the Rocky Mountains and south to the Gulf of Mexico. They are evidence of trade.

Fossil ˆ

Ohio State Fossil

Another symbol that deserves respect is Ohio’s official fossil, a trilobite with the scientific name Isotelus.

Isotelus is the largest known trilobite, with some specimens over two feet long. In fact, the largest trilobite on display at the Smithsonian Natural History museum is from Ohio.

Ohio’s favorite trilobite lived about 440 million years ago, during the Ordovician Period. That makes it one of the oldest state fossils. Its fossils are best known from the Cincinnati area.

In 2020, Ohio gained an official fossil fish, Dunkleosteus. No ordinary fish, Dunkleosteus ranks among the most alien of state fossils. Dunkleosteus was a type of placoderm, or armored fish, that lived more than 350 million years ago and grew to lengths of more than 30 feet (10 meters). One might guess this nightmarish monster ate dinosaurs, but it became extinct long before the first dinosaurs evolved.

What really distinguishes Dunkleosteus is its enormous teeth. They aren’t real teeth; rather, they’re part of the skull. Can you imagine if you never had to worry about your teeth falling out because they’re part of your skull?

Dunkleosteus(Dunkleosteus skull: By James St. John – Dunkleosteus terrelli (fossil fish) (Cleveland Shale Member, Ohio Shale, Upper Devonian; Rocky River Valley, Cleveland, Ohio, USA) 21, CC BY 2.0, link. Note: I erased the background.)

Soil ˆ

Ohio’s unofficial state soil is Miamian. These brown, loamy soils formed in glacial deposits associated with deciduous forests.

More than 50% of Ohio’s land area is classified as prime farmland, and much of it is covered with a blanket of Miamian soils. Corn, soybeans, winter wheat, oats are the main crops grown on Miamian soils.

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