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

Pennsylvania State Fossil

Trilobite

Pennsylvania Fossil - Trilobite

(Phacops rana)

Adopted on December 5, 1988.

The Trilobite, (Phacops rana,) was adopted on December 5, 1988. A water animal measuring just one to four inches, the (Phacops Rana) lived and left its mark Pennsylvania more than 250 million years ago. A science class of elementary school students brought this tiny invertebrate to the attention of the House of Representatives.

Pennsylvania State Fossil:Trilobite

Pennsylvania Fossil - Trilobite

Phacops rana is a fossil organism known as a trilobite (pronounced "tri-lobe-ite"). Trilobites are an extinct category of jointed-legged animals related to crabs, lobsters, shrimp, spiders, insects, and so on. This group of creatures, called arthropods, are among the most complex of all the animals without backbones and trilobites are no exception. They had well-developed nervous systems and large antennae. Trilobites had many appendages for swimming, walking, or feeding. Although these appendages are relatively rare in most groups of trilobite fossils. Phacops is one of four genera for which they are fairly well known and studied. Trilobites also had a hard outer skeleton composed of chitin, a complex organic protein, and the mineral apatite (calcium phosphate).

Many trilobites had large eyes. They are, in fact, the first organisms on earth known to have eyes. The trilobites had compound eyes, composed of many individual lenses, like those of insects. Trilobites possess the most ancient visual system known to scientists and thus they provided some of the best direct evidence of eye evolution.

Trilobites are a common fossil in many of the early to middle Paleozoic rocks of central Pennsylvania, i.e., rocks that are between 570 and 365 million years old. Complete fossil specimens are rare because the animals were composed of rigid outer skeletal segments joined by flexible organic connections that decayed on the death of the animal. Currents, scavengers, and molting all served to separate skeletal parts, which comprise the most common trilobite fossils in Pennsylvania. This common abundance of trilobite parts in the fossil record, in fact, was enhanced by the fact that the animals grew by casting off their outer skeleton in a series of molt stages. One animal probably produced ten to twelve potentially preservable skeletons in its lifetime.

An interest in trilobites is not restricted to scientists and geological dilettantes. They are prized by jewelry and curio collectors. This interest is a long standing one. Trilobites were found on necklaces belonging to the prehistoric inhabitants of 15,000 year old rock shelters of Europe. The Ute Indians of the western United States fashioned trilobites into amulets. The Ute name for these fossils was, "timpe khanitza pachavee" which means "little water but like stone house in."

Phacops rana is found in Pennsylvania's Devonian-age rocks (rocks between 405 and 365 million years old). A publically available location for finding fossil specimens of this fascinating creature are described in Pennsylvania Trail of Geology, Park Guide #16.

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL

No. 2171 Session of 1988
INTRODUCED BY BURNS, FEBRUARY 8, 1988
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON CONSERVATION, FEBRUARY 8, 1988

AN ACT

Designating the Phacops rana, a trilobite, as the official State fossil of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby enacts as follows:

Section 1. Official State fossil.
Phacops rana is a specific type of trilobite, a small sea creature. Trilobites were rulers of the sea during the Cambrian Period, 515 to 600 million years ago. Trilobites are so named because their bodies are divided lengthwise into three parts or "lobes." Phacops rana means "frog eyes" because of the large holes for eyes on the fossil. Fossils of Phacops rana are found in many parts of Pennsylvania, and, therefore, the Phacops rana is selected, designated and adopted as the official State fossilof the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Section 2. Effective date.
This act shall take effect immediately.

The Pennsylvania Statutes

The law designating the trilobite as the official Pennsylvania state fossil is found in Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes, Title 71 (P.S. State Government) Part 1 (The Administrative Codes and Related Provisions) Chapter 6 (Provisions Similar or Closely Related to Provisions of the Administrative Code - Secretary and Department of Internal Affairs - State Emblems Section 1010.3

Title 71 P.S. State Government
I. The Administrative Codes and Related Provisions
Chapter 6. Provisions Similar or Closely Related to Provisions of the Administrative Code
Secretary and Department of Internal Affairs
State Emblems

§ 1010.3. Official state fossil

Phacops rana is a specific type of trilobite, a small sea creature. Trilobites were rulers of the sea during the Cambrian Period, 515 to 600 million years ago. Trilobites are so named because their bodies are divided lengthwise into three parts or "lobes." Phacops rana means "frog eyes" because of the large holes for eyes on the fossil. Fossils of Phacops rana are found in many parts of Pennsylvania, and, therefore, the Phacops rana is selected, designated and adopted as the official State fossil of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

CREDIT(S)
1988, Dec. 5, P.L. 1113, No. 138, § 1, imd. effective.

HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES

1990 Main Volume

Title of Act:

An Act designating the Phacops rana, a trilobite, as the official State fossil of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 1988, Dec. 5, P.L. 1113, No. 138, § 1, imd. effective.

71 P.S. § 1010.3, PA ST 71 P.S. § 1010.3

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Trilobite

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Trilobita
Order: Phacopida
Family: Phacopidae
Genus: Phacops
Species: P. rana
Binomial name: Phacops rana (Green, 1832)
subspecies
P. rana rana
P. rana africana Burton & Eldredge, 1974
P. rana crassituberculata Stumm, 1953
P. rana milleri Stewart, 1927
P. rana norwoodiensis Stumm, 1953
P. rana paucituberculata Eldredge, 1972
P. rana tindoufensis Burton & Eldredge, 1974
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