The Paleontology of North America

South Carolina, US



See exposures in this state from the:

Dates (mya)

State Fossil:

There is no official state fossil for this state. Encourage your state legislature to adopt one today!

Paleontology and geology

The Precambrian: Precambrian rocks are exposed in the northwestern portion of the state. These rocks are metamorphic and igneous and contain no known fossils. The Paleozoic: The only known Paleozoic rocks in South Carolina are found in a single Cambrian-age outcrop near Batesburg in the southwestern part of the state. These rocks contain a number of species of trilobites, indicating that marine conditions existed in this part of South Carolina in the early Paleozoic. The Mesozoic: The only Mesozoic rocks present in South Carolina are Cretaceous in age. These rocks are marine in origin and contain fossils of tube-making worms, oysters, and other marine animals. Recently, several dinosaur teeth and pieces of bone have been found in the eastern part of the state, representing remains that had washed into the sea. The Cenozoic: The Cenozoic is well represented in South Carolina, particularly in the southeastern half of the state. Climate fluctuated during the Tertiary before a final warming period in the Late Tertiary. Fossils of both marine and terrestrial organisms, such as whales and large crocodilians, indicate that the climate was tropical to subtropical at that time, much like the climate of modern Florida. The sea level fluctuated during the Quaternary, as did the climate. Fossil pollen from jack pine provides evidence of cooler temperatures, while fossil representatives of modern species indicate times of more moderate conditions.

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