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The Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals of Missouri


Only scattered dinosaur fossils have been discovered in Missouri, a state that's more notable for its Mastodons and marine animals, as listed below. (See an interactive map of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals in the United States.)

1. Hypsibema

State of Missouri
The official state dinosaur of Missouri, Hypsibema is a nomen dubium--that is, a genus of dinosaur that duplicates, or was a species of, an already-existing genus. However it winds up being classified, Hypsibema was a respectably sized hadrosaur (duck-billed dinosaur) that roamed Missouri about 75 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period. More about hadrosaurs

2. American Mastodon

American Mastodon
Charles R. Knight
Eastern Missouri is the home of the Mastodon State Historic Site, which--you guessed it--is famous for its numerous Mastodon fossils dating from the Pleistocene epoch. Tens of thousands of years ago, American Mastodons ranged across the length and breadth of North America, some venturing as far south as Florida! More about the American Mastodon

3. Falcatus

Nobu Tamura
The plentiful fossils of Falcatus have been discovered in the state of Missouri, so many that paleontologists have established that this tiny, foot-long prehistoric shark was sexually dimorphic: the males had narrow, sickle-shaped spines jutting out of the top of their heads, which they presumably used to attract females.

4. Marine Organisms

State of Missouri
Like many states in the midwest, Missouri is known for its tiny, marine fossils dating from the Paleozoic Era, about 400 million years ago. These creatures included brachiopods, echinoderms, mollusks, corals and crinoids--the last typified by the official state fossil of Missouri, the tiny, tentacled Delocrinus.
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