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The Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals of Kentucky


To date, no dinosaurs have been discovered in Kentucky--but that doesn't mean this southern state was completely devoid of prehistoric life, as listed below. (See an interactive map of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals in the United States.)

1. American Mastodon

american mastodon
National Museum of Natural History
During most of the 18th century, Kentucky was part of Virginia--and it was in this territory's Big Bone Lick that early naturalists found the remains of an American Mastodon (which the area's native Americans referred to as a giant buffalo). In case you were wondering how a Mastodon made it so far down south, that wasn't unusual for the mammalian megafauna of the Pleistocene epoch. More about the American Mastodon

2. Brachiopods

Wikimedia Commons
They're not quite as impressive as Mastodons, but brachiopods--tiny, shelled, ocean-dwelling creatures closely related to bivalves--covered the territory of Kentucky in bulk from about 400 to 300 million years ago, to the extent that an (unidentified) brachiopod is this state's official fossil. (As you may have guessed, hundreds of millions of years ago Kentucky was under water!)
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