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The Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals of Georgia

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The state of Georgia has hosted its fair share of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals over the last 100 million years, as listed below. (See an interactive map of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals in the United States.)

1. Prehistoric Crocodiles

rutiodon
Dmitri Bogdanov
Most of Georgia's fossils have been discovered in this state's "coastal plain" area, in a serious state of fragmentation. Along with the scattered teeth and bones of various marine reptiles, paleontologists have unearthed the remains of prehistoric crocodiles--most notably, an unidentified genus measuring over 25 feet long! More about prehistoric crocodiles

2. Megalonyx

megalonyx
American Museum of Natural History
Better known as the Giant Ground Sloth, Megalonyx was first described in 1797 by president-to-be Thomas Jefferson (the original fossil specimen hailed from West Virginia, but bones have been unearthed in Georgia as well). This giant megafauna mammal measured about 10 feet from head to tail and weighed 500 pounds, about the size of a large bear! More about Megalonyx

3. Georgiacetus

georgiacetus
Nobu Tamura
Forty million years ago, whales looked very different than they do today--as witness the 12-foot-long Georgiacetus, which possessed prominent arms and legs in addition to its sharp-toothed snout. Georgiacetus was named after the state of Georgia, but its fossil remains have been found in Alabama and Mississippi as well. More about prehistoric whales

4. Megalodon

megalodon
Nobu Tamura
The largest prehistoric shark that ever lived, Megalodon was equipped with fierce, sharp, seven-inch-long teeth--numerous fossil specimens of which have been unearthed in Georgia. It's still a mystery why Megalodon went extinct a million years ago; it probably had something to do with the dwindling of its accustomed prey (which included prehistoric whales). More about Megalodon

5. Duck-Billed Dinosaurs

kritosaurus
Sergey Krasovskiy
During the late Cretaceous period, Georgia was covered with lush vegetation (as many parts of the state still are today). That explains why paleontologists have found the scattered remains of numerous, unidentified hadrosaur (duck-billed) dinosaurs, which were basically the Mesozoic equivalent of modern sheep and cattle. More about hadrosaurs
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