Career College Search

Online Schools

Campus Schools


Have you begun your college search? Find a college that's right for you. Acess over 8500 Colleges, Universities, and Trade Schools in the US.

Begin Now!



State Fossils
US State Fossils

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

North Carolina State Fossil

Fossilized Teeth of the Megalodon Shark

North Carolina State Fossil: Fossilized Teeth of the Megalodon Shark

(C. megalodon)

Adopted on June 26, 2013.

The fossilized teeth of the megalodon shark became the official state fossil of the State or North Carolina when Governor Pat McCrory signed mega-symbol House Bill No. 830 on June 26, 2013.

The follow reasons were offered: The megalodon shark is an extinct shark species that lived over 1.5 million years ago; and may have reached over 40 feet in length and weighed up to 100 tons; and had serrated, heart-shaped teeth that may have grown to over seven inches in length; and fossilized teeth of the megalodon shark have been found in North Carolina and throughout the world.

North Carolina State Fossil:
Fossilized Teeth of the Megalodon Shark

In fossil form, the shark tooth can be traced back 375,000,000 years. Fossilized shark teeth are found in a range of colors--from the more common blacks and grays to whites, browns, blues and reddish browns.

North Carolina State Fossil: Fossilized Teeth of the Megalodon Shark

Megalodon  meaning "big tooth", from Ancient Greek: (megas) "big, mighty" + (odon) (from (odous) "tooth"), is an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 28 to 1.5 million years ago, during the Cenozoic Era (late Oligocene to early Pleistocene).

The taxonomic assignment of C. megalodon has been debated for nearly a century, and is still under dispute. The two major interpretations are Carcharodon megalodon (under family Lamnidae) or Carcharocles megalodon (under family Otodontidae). Consequently, the scientific name of this species is commonly abbreviated C. megalodon in the literature.

Characteristics of the Megalodon

North Carolina State Fossil: Fossilized Teeth of the Megalodon Shark

C. megalodon is regarded as one of the largest and most powerful predators in vertebrate history, and likely had a profound impact on the structure of marine communities. Fossil remains suggest that this giant shark reached a maximum length of 14-18 metres (46-59 ft), and also affirm that it had a cosmopolitan distribution. Scientists suggest that C. megalodon looked like a stockier version of the great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias

Since shark skeletons are composed of cartilage rather than bone, shark teeth are often the only part of a shark to fossilize and survive hundreds of millions of years. Sharks continually shed their teeth, up to tens of thousands in a lifetime, making shark tooth fossils plentiful. Approximately 2,000 species of fossil shark have been described.

Fossils mainly date from the Miocene epoch through the late Cretaceous period, making them approximately 8 to 150 million years old. Fossilized shark teeth of up to 450 million years of age have been found. Most commonly black or shades of gray, fossil shark teeth can also be white, brown, and even shades of red and blue. The minerals present in the sediment surrounding the tooth determine its color.

General Assembly of North Carolina Session 2013

SESSION LAW 2013-189
HOUSE BILL 830

AN ACT to adopt an official state fossil, frog, Salamander, marsupial, folk art, and art medium.

Whereas, some of North Carolina's official State symbols have been suggested by the State's school children after they have had history, science, social studies, or geography lessons related to North Carolina; and

Whereas, this year some of the suggestions range from the adoption of an official fossil to an official frog; and

Whereas, the State of North Carolina has a number of unique official symbols but does not have an official fossil, frog, salamander, marsupial, folk art, or art medium; and

Whereas, the megalodon shark is an extinct shark species that lived over 1.5 million years ago; and

Whereas, the megalodon shark may have reached over 40 feet in length and weighed up to 100 tons; and

Whereas, the megalodon shark had serrated, heart-shaped teeth that may have grown to over seven inches in length; and

Whereas, fossilized teeth of the megalodon shark have been found in North Carolina and throughout the world; and

Whereas, North Carolina and the Southeast region of the United States lead the world in amphibian diversity; and

Whereas, the pine barrens tree frog can be found in the Sandhills and Coastal Plain regions of North Carolina; and

Whereas, the pine barrens tree frog has been considered one of the most striking and beautiful frogs in the Southeast region of the United States; and

Whereas, the pine barrens tree frog by name reflects one of North Carolina's signature trees and ecosystems that have been a vital part of the State's economic, cultural, and natural history since colonial times; and

Whereas, North Carolina also leads the nation and world in salamander diversity, most notably in our Appalachian Mountains; and

Whereas, the marbled salamander is found throughout the State and is unique in that it is a charismatic, striking, chunky-bodied, fossorial amphibian, of which no two are exactly alike in color pattern; and

Whereas, according the North Carolina Wildlife Commission's 2005 North Carolina Wildlife Action Plan, the pine barrens tree frog and the marbled salamander have been identified as priority species for population monitoring and conservation in North Carolina; and

Whereas, the Virginia opossum is native to North Carolina and is the only marsupial found in North America; the female carries its underdeveloped young in a pouch until they are capable of living independently, similar to a kangaroo; and

Whereas, the Virginia opossum is one of the oldest and most primitive species of mammal found in North America; and

Whereas, the Virginia opossum is about the size of a large house cat with a triangular head; a long pointed nose; dark eyes; a long, scaly, prehensile tail; and short, black, leathery ears; and

Whereas, the Virginia opossum is nocturnal and lives in a wide variety of habitats, including deciduous forests, open woods, and farmland but prefers wet areas such as marshes, swamps, and streams; and

Whereas, at age 65, Vollis Simpson, a self-taught folk artist, began making giant windmills known as "whirligigs" at his home in Wilson, North Carolina; and

Whereas, Mr. Simpson's whirligigs have been exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, and at other locations, including New York, California, Canada, and England; and

Whereas, Mr. Simpson and details of his artwork have been featured in many national magazines and in several books; and

Whereas, the City of Wilson is developing the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park to display a large collection of these whirligigs in historic downtown, which will be a one-of-a-kind destination for visitors; and

Whereas, North Carolina's clay-rich soil has contributed to the State's pottery heritage; and

Whereas, the use of clay has grown from the State's early Native Americans making mostly utilitarian wares and European settlers continuing the traditions of their ancestors to today's potters designing pottery with utilitarian and aesthetic elements; and

Whereas, the pottery tradition continues to thrive in North Carolina, especially in the Seagrove area, which includes parts of Chatham, Lee, Moore, Montgomery, and Randolph Counties; and

Whereas, clay continues to be an important art medium contributing to the State's cultural, social, and economic prosperity; Now, therefore,

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. Chapter 145 of the General Statutes is amended by adding the following new sections to read:

§ 145-41. State fossil.

The fossilized teeth of the megalodon shark is adopted as the official fossil of the State of North Carolina.

"§ 145-42. State frog.

The pine barrens tree frog (Hyla andersonii) is adopted as the official frog of the State of North Carolina.

"§ 145-43. State salamander.

The marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum) is adopted as the official salamander of the State of North Carolina.

"§ 145-44. State marsupial.

The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is adopted as the official marsupial of the State of North Carolina.

"§ 145-45. State folk art.

The whirligigs created by Vollis Simpson are adopted as the official folk art of the State of North Carolina.

"§ 145-46. State art medium.

Clay is adopted as the official art medium of the State of North Carolina."

SECTION 2. This act is effective when it becomes law.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 20th day of June, 2013.

s/ Philip E. Berger
President Pro Tempore of the Senate
s/ Thom Tillis
Speaker of the House of Representatives
s/ Pat McCrory
Governor

Approved 4:24 p.m. this 26th day of June, 2013

The North Carolina General Statutes

The law designating the megalodon shark as the official North Carolina state fossil is found in the North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 145, Section 145-41.

CHAPTER 145. State Symbols and Other Official Adoptions.
SECTION 145-41.

§ 145-41. State fossil.

The fossilized teeth of the megalodon shark is adopted as the official fossil of the State of North Carolina.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Megalodon shark

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
    Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Chondrichthyes
    Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Superorder: Selachimorpha
    Order: Lamniformes
Family: Lamnidae or Otodontidae
Genus: Carcharodon or Carcharocles
Species: C. megalodon
Binomial name: Carcharodon megalodon or Carcharocles megalodon

State Fossils
State Fossils
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.
Hunting for a new job? Get advice or search over 1.6 million jobs on the largest job site
Colleges & Universities
Colleges & Universities: Search or Browse over 8500 Colleges, Universities, and Trade Schools in the US..

Find and Compare!

With access to over 8,500 schools to choose from!
Provides pricing transparency, scholarship information as well as numerous other key details on over 8,500 US colleges, universities and trade schools

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

Support for eReferenceDesk
More information at
Support eReferenceDesk

Please click the "DONATE" button and enter the amount you wish to contribute:
PayPal