Tennessee State Fossil: The Pterotrigonia thoracica

Did you know?

In 1998, the Tennessee state legislature adopted Pterotrigonia thoracica, a saltwater clam, as its state fossil. This fossil is found exclusively in West Tennessee in the 70-million year old Coon Creek Formation. The Coon Creek Formation, primarily in McNairy County, is one of the most significant fossil sites in the world and has produced some of the most well-preserved fossils from the Cretaceous Period. The deposits formed when sea level was much higher than it is today and the seashore ran along what is now the Tennessee River corridor. West Tennessee was a shallow sea! Discovery Park of America hosts a permanent Coon Creek Formation exhibit which includes two specimens of Pterotrigonia thoracica.

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