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The Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals of South Carolina


South Carolina can't lay claim to any fossils dating to the age of dinosaurs, but this state was home to a large assortment of prehistoric marine animals, as listed below. (See an interactive map of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals in the United States.)

1. Prehistoric Crocodiles

Dmitri Bogdanov
Today, the crocodiles of the southern U.S. are mostly restricted to Florida--but that wasn't the case millions of years ago, when the prehistoric ancestors of these toothy reptiles ranged up and down the east coast. Amateur fossil collectors have dug up the scattered bones of numerous South Carolina crocodiles; unfortunately, most of these finds can't be attributed to specific genera. More about prehistoric crocodiles

2. Prehistoric Fish

Wikimedia Commons
Fossilized fish are a common find in the geologic sediments of South Carolina; as is the case with crocodiles, though, it can often be difficult to attribute a specific fossil to a specific genus. One exception is the relatively obscure Xiphiorhynchus, a prehistoric swordfish dating to the Eocene epoch (about 50 million years ago). More about prehistoric fish

3. Prehistoric Whales

Ezequiel Vera
Unlike the case with prehistoric fish and crocodiles (above), paleontologists have been able to identify a fair number of the prehistoric whales discovered in South Carolina. Among the relatively obscure genera that prowled this state's coastline millions of years ago were Eomysticetus, Micromysticetus and (of course) Carolinacetus. More about prehistoric whales
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