The word “fossil,” comes from the Latin word “fossilis,” which means “dug up.” Fossils often are found in limestone and they represent a variety of extinct marine invertebrate animal life forms, including brachiopods, bryozoans, clams, corals, crinoids, nautiloids and snails. See below for some of the most common fossils found in Missouri.

Countless fossils are embedded in the marble in the walls and floors, the rotunda, the treads of the stairways and on the exterior of our state Capitol in Jefferson City. They can be viewed on an easy walking tour. Check out Capitol Fossils PUB2488.

Bivalves
Bivalves are aquatic mollusks with shells usually made up of calcium
Blastoids
Blastoids were stemmed echinoderm invertebrate animals
Brachiopods
Brachiopods are a category of shelled, marine, invertebrate animals
Conulariid Jellyfish
Conulariid jellyfish are primitive, tentacled, free-swimming invertebrate animals
Crinoid
The crinoid is the state fossil
Gastropods
Gastropods are a class of mollusk animals that includes snails and slugs
Nautiloid
About 2,500 species of nautiloids are known to have existed through geologic time
Starfish
Many species of starfish are extinct. Approximately 1,500 species are alive today
Regular Echinoids
Regular Echinoids continue to live in the oceans today
Trilobite
Now extinct, trilobites lived in the world’s oceans
State Dinosaur
Hypsibema missouriensis bones found in Missouri reside in the Smithsonian Institution