Once covered by vast tropical seas and later by giant glaciers, the Ohio landscape features an abundance of fossils. The glaciated portions of the state are home to Ice Age fossils, including plants and ancient mammals. But southwestern and northwestern Ohio boast a wider variety of much older marine fossils, including the official state fossil Isotelus.
Fossils show us what kind of vegetation existed in Carboniferous Ohio. There were lots of ferns, giant reeds, horsetails, and most of the trees had scaly bark. Many animals lived among the vegetation, including the largest insects in our planet’s history. For example, Ohio was home to a dragonfly with wings over two feet across! Insects and other arthropods could get so big during the Carboniferous Period because high levels of oxygen were created by the plants.
In addition to bugs and coal, the Carboniferous rocks of Ohio are famous for other things, including deposits of both clay and flint—our official state gemstone . The flint from Flint Ridge in Licking County was used by prehistoric people to make tools and weapons and was traded all over North America. It also was used by Ohio’s early settlers to make grindstones. Today, Ohio flint is prized around the world and sought after by artists and lapidarists to make beautiful jewelry . Native American findings are rare but do occur on the shores and I lands of the island still.
For Fossil hunting without all the work, visit the Island Mining Company in Caddy Shack Square.