Fossils are the preserved remains or imprints of once living plants or animals. These relics hold the key to understanding portions of Virginia’s geologic past.
Pelecypods, also called bivalves, are soft-bodied animals that secrete a hard shell with two sides, such as an oyster or clam. Pelecypods are abundant in the Cenozoic sedimentary deposits of Virginia’s Coastal Plain. Virginia’s state fossil is the bivalve Chesapecten jeffersonius, pictured here.
Coral is the hard calcareous skeleton formed by the polyps of bottom-dwelling marine organisms. Some type of corals are formed by colonies, others occur as single individuals. Colonial corals can be found in the Cenozoic sediments of the Coastal Plain; individual and colonial corals can be found in the Paleozoic sedimentary rocks of the Valley and Ridge Province.