The Science Museum of Minnesota has opened up voting for a recommendation to designate an official state fossil. The nine candidates include one found on the banks of the river near Stillwater, during an expedition nearly 170 years ago.
Minnesota is one of only seven states that does not yet have a designated state fossil.
As St. Croix 360 reported last month, Dikelocephalus minnesotensis was a foot-long early animal lived in what’s now the St. Croix Valley almost 500 million years ago, when the area was under a shallow sea. The sea laid down the sediments that became the sandstone commonly seen along the river, and buried some aquatic inhabitants in the process.
The species was first documented by David Dale Owen based on fossils found he and his team found during extensive geological surveys made on travels through the region between 1847 and 1850 sponsored by the Treasury Department. A description of the new fossil was published in 1852.
Here’s what the Science Museum says about the species:
“Trilobites are extinct, insect-like sea creatures. There were many varieties of trilobite, but this one has ‘Minnesota’ right in the name! It got the name based on fossil material discovered near Stillwater, Minnesota, almost 170 years ago. Those fossils are now in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, but Dikelocephalus will always be a hometown star.
There are also other great options, go take a look and pick your favorite.