Wisconsin State Fossil: Trilobite (Calymene celebra)


The Wisconsin State Fossil is the Trilobite (Calymene celebra).

Wisconsin State Fossil - The trilobite was designated the official state fossil in 1985 by Wisconsin Act 162. Pronounced "TRY-loh-bite", the Latin term describes the 3-lobed anatomy of this small invertebrate body divided by furrows into segments. The trilobite is an extinct marine arthropod with multiple sets of paired, jointed legs.

Trilobites flourshed in the warm, shallow saltwater sea that periodically covered Wisconsin territory hundreds of millions of years ago. Their fossil remains average 1 to 2 inches in length. Trilobite fossils are abundant and distinctive enough to be easily recognized. Good specimens are preserved in rock formations throughout most of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Geological Society proposed the fossil to symbolize Wisconsin's ancient past and encourage interest in the state’s rich geological heritage. A major rival for recognition as state fossil was the mastodon, a large prehistoric, elephant-like creature.


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