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National & State Symbols
Florida State Stone (Fossil)
Adopted in 1979.
Florida does not yet recognize a state fossil, but its state stone, agatized coral, is actually a fossil. Agatized Corall, (Cnidaria anthozoa,) can be any of many species of corals which have been replaced by agate, a variety of quartz chalcedony. It takes a very long time to form, and most of the agatized coral found today in the state lived in the vast Eocene seas which covered the state 35-40 million years ago, when Florida was part of the continental shelf.
Florida State Stone (Fossil): Coral
Coral is the outside skeleton of tiny ocean animals called polyps, which live in colonies attached to hard underwater surfaces. When alive, polyps combine their own carbon dioxide with the lime in warm seawater to form a limestone-like hard surface, or coral.
Coral is created by sea life. It is the skeletal remains of coral
polyps. Coral is calcium carbonate with a trade of carotene. Its color
ranges from white to red. Red, pink, and white coral is mostly calcium
carbonate. Black and golden coral is conchiolin. It is beautiful in
rings, necklaces, and pendants.
Scientists speculate that a massive runoff of silt rich in clay and silica may have buried the prehistoric Coral Reef alive. Much like modern day
runoff is killing many of our Reefs.
2000 Florida Statutes
2000 Florida Statutes,
History.--s. 1, ch. 79-278.
Most US states have made a state fossil designation, in many cases during the 1980s. It is common to designate one species in which fossilization has occurred, rather than a single specimen, or a category of fossils not limited to a single species.
Some states that lack a "state fossil" have nevertheless singled out a fossil for formal designation such as a state dinosaur, rock, gem or stone.
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