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Kansas Geological Survey Publications Sample

Fossils of Kansas

Kansas Geological Survey and KU Natural History Museum

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The full-color poster features information about 29 plants and animals that formed some of the most interesting or common fossils in the state. One side of the poster includes drawings of these plants and animals as they might have appeared in life, based on evidence from the fossil record. The back side of the poster provides additional information, including explanatory text about each of the plants and animals depicted, photographs of the fossils, and a geologic time scale.

Copies are available from the publications office of the Kansas Geological Survey (785-864-3965). The cost is $5.00 per copy, plus sales tax, shipping and handling.


Kansas rocks are full of fossils. Fossils are the remains or evidence of ancient plants and animals. They come in many forms--from bones and shells to carbon traces, tracks, and burrows. For fossilization to occur, an organism must be buried fairly quickly to protect it from being eaten by scavengers, attacked by bacteria, or worn away by wind or wave action. Occasionally, mudslides and volcanic eruptions quickly bury organisms on land, but rapid burial is more likely to occur in water. Based on marine fossils contained in many of the rocks that crop out at the surface in Kansas, scientists know that shallow seas covered the area for long intervals throughout the past. These seas were ideal for rapid burial. Rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams also made good burial sites. This poster illustrates some of the more interesting or common fossils found in Kansas, many of which are the remains of long-extinct organisms. These fossils, however, are only a small sample of the diverse life forms that once lived in this place we now call Kansas.

Kansas Geological Survey, Public Outreach Section
Placed online February 18, 2003
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