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States with the most dinosaur fossils

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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

States with the most dinosaur fossils

Humans' fascination with dinosaurs goes back at least 2,000 years to Chinese writings describing what were thought to be massive dragon bones. In the 17th century, an English museum curator discovered a large thigh bone he posited was from a human giant. The first scientific designation of a group of animals called dinosaurs came about in the 1840s. 1993's blockbuster “Jurassic Park” drove our 20th-century obsession with dinosaurs into overdrive. And with each new fossil discovery and dinosaur movie release, our intrigue with these prehistoric predators—some of which could eat a human within minutes—only grows.

Every U.S. state has searched its soil for dinosaur fossils, but some states have more old dinosaur bones than others. Anyone lucky enough to stumble on dinosaur fossils is likely to strike pay dirt: Some investors are willing to pay more than $2 million a pop for mostly intact skeletons (much to the chagrin of paleontologists and fellow scientists everywhere). To determine which states have the most dinosaur fossils, Stacker consulted the Paleobiology Database (PBDB), a nonprofit public resource that brings together fossil records from research institutions around the world. Data is current as of February 2020. We pulled all records labeled "Dinosauria" (the dinosaur clade) and sorted them by state. It is important to note that these records do not comprehensively reflect all dinosaur fossil records in the U.S., but rather represent a sample via the fossils available in public collections.

Seven states—Kentucky, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin—have no dinosaur fossils recorded by the PBDB. These states were mostly below sea level during the time dinosaurs roamed the Earth, leaving little sediment to preserve fossils. Glacial erosion also contributed to the lack of bones.

Stacker’s research for the relics in each state also includes the digital media source Thought Co. Additionally, state geological surveys like Maine explain how state terrain affected fossilization, while other sources explain prominent dinosaur periods which are broken down into Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods with subsets for each.

Along with the most prominent time period, the genus with the most fossils is provided for each slide. A dinosaur’s genus encompasses multiple species with similar characteristics. Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, and Diplodocus are three of the nearly 300 valid dinosaur genera.

Continue reading to discover which states have the most dinosaur fossils.

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Dwergenpaartje // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Wisconsin (tie)

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 0

Where there is no rock, there are no dinosaur bones, which is the case in Wisconsin. Though containing no stone from the Permian period to Neogene age  (either from erosion or having never been there), the state is known for its small marine vertebrates proving water life from more than 500 million years ago. In the early Paleozoic period, Wisconsin was covered with shallow seas, leaving behind thousands of samplings including the state fossil Calymene, first collected in the 1830s.

 

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Compass Points Media // Flickr

#44. Vermont (tie)

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 0

Vermont may have had megafauna mammals, but not dinosaurs. There is, however, the Charlotte whale, undeniably the state’s most significant find in a farm field in 1849. Darwin’s famous evolution theory was published after the discovery, which was approximately two mountain ranges from the nearest ocean. Discovering the Charlotte whale proved the state was once covered in glaciers (which, once retreated, made room for flooding from the Atlantic Ocean) and not home to deeply deposited rocks and dinosaur bones.

 

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jhan999 // Shutterstock

#44. Rhode Island (tie)

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 0

Similar to other New England states, Rhode Island is devoid of prehistoric dinosaur fossils, but it has famous paleontologist David Fastovsky. The University of Rhode Island professor said that dinosaurs almost certainly dwelled in Rhode Island, but their footprints were destroyed by glaciers.

 

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James St. John // Flickr

#44. New Hampshire (tie)

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 0

The Granite State’s title alone explains why fossils are few and far between: Granite is an igneous rock formed by cooling lava, which cannot sustain fossils. That’s why out west, where there is a lot of sedimentary rock, fossils are much more prevalent. Additionally, acidic soil (like that in much of New Hampshire) does not keep bones well.

 

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JB Manning // Shutterstock

#44. Minnesota (tie)

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 0

A fossilized dino claw with a tooth and vertebrae was discovered in 2015 in Minnesota, but the jury is still out on whether the artifact hitched a ride on a glacier or called the North Star State home. There’s no other evidence of dinosaurs but woolly mammoth and old bison fossils have been found in Minnesota, as well as others that date back as far as 540 million years ago.

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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#44. Kentucky (tie)

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 0

The University of Kentucky reports that while the state has no dinosaur fossils, it has fossils from as far back as 505 million years ago. Discoveries are happening in real time, too: A 330-million-year-old shark head fossil was discovered in January 2020 inside a Kentucky cave. For what it lacks in actual fossils, the Bluegrass State makes up for with Dinosaur World.

 

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Nikki Herbst // Shutterstock

#44. Iowa (tie)

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 0

Iowa is home to one of the world’s biggest untouched gypsum deposits found at Fort Dodge Formation, and the state is second in the U.S. for gypsum production. Even though a handful of fossils discovered in the state suggest dinosaurs roamed here, there is no confirmation that Iowa served as home base like adjacent states. The Fossil and Prairie Center in Rockford invites visitors to search for fossils along miles of trails.

 

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U.S. Geological Survey // Flickr

#41. West Virginia (tie)

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 1
- Genus with the most fossils: Ectopistes (1 fossil)
- Time period with the most fossils: Pleistocene (1 fossil)

Known for its “bottom-heavy” geologic record, which dates back as far as 400 million years, West Virginia has significant amphibian and tetrapod fossils. The state also has a Megalonyx, the fossil recorded in PBDB, which was described by President Thomas Jefferson as the Giant Ground Sloth and today serves as the state fossil. West Virginia is also home to the Geological and Economic Survey Museum, which explains the lack of dinosaur fossils. The reason? West Virginia’s sedimentary rocks predate dinosaurs, while the state’s Mesozoic rocks have long-since eroded along with any fossilized evidence.

 

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John A. Anderson // Shutterstock

#41. New York (tie)

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 1
- Genus with the most fossils: Grallator (1 fossil)
- Time period with the most fossils: Norian (1 fossil)

The prehistoric fossil recorded in PBDB still remains third against two more popular marine-dwelling vertebrae relics found in the Empire State. Nonetheless, the only type of dinosaur fossil in the state belongs to Coelophysis, also called Grallator, which left 200-million-old Triassic tracks in Rockland County, proving its prehistoric presence. The New York dino is so famous, even Kylie Jenner grabbed a selfie with the renowned carnivore double.

 

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James Kirkikis // Shutterstock

#41. Indiana (tie)

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 1
- Genus with the most fossils: Not available
- Time period with the most fossils: Late Hemphillian (1 fossil)

PBDB only documents one dinosaur fossil in the Hoosier State, but it is home to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis: the largest children’s museum in the world, and one of the best spots on the globe for dinosaur fans, according to Fodor’s. Indiana is notable for megafauna mammals and tiny invertebrate relics from the region, which was once covered in glaciers.

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Cory Doctorow // Flickr

#40. Louisiana

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 3
- Genus with the most fossils: Not available
- Time period with the most fossils: Priabonian (2 fossils)

Famous fossil sites like Creole Bluff at Montgomery Landing, where a huge whale skeleton was uncovered in 1979, reveal Louisiana’s prehistoric past. Fossil-hunters regularly check the state’s gravel deposits, which can date back up to 408 million years. While dinosaur fossils are scarce, the Lafayette Science Museum’s “Sizing up Archaeology” exhibit allows children to dig for dinosaur bones.

 

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Callie Wyrsch // Shutterstock

#39. Missouri

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 4
- Genus with the most fossils: Not available
- Time period with the most fossils: Maastrichtian (3 fossils)

The duck-billed dinosaur discovered in 1942 near Glen Allen, Missouri, became the state symbol. The state is also home to a plethora of fossils from the American Mastodon, which earned a namesake state park in Eastern Missouri. Visitors can also check out famous dinosaur bones, a piece of meteorite, mammoth tusks, and other fossils at the Ed Clark Museum of Missouri Geology in Rolla.

 

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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#38. Arkansas

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 5
- Genus with the most fossils: Hesperornis (2 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Albian (1 fossil)

Foot bones of a bipedal dinosaur were discovered in 1972 in Sevier County, proving prehistoric life wandered the southern state. By 2017, the Arkansaurus fridayi became the official state dinosaur. Dinosaur tracks were additionally discovered in the early ‘80s at the Briar Site, a gypsum quarry in southwestern Arkansas. And a gypsum quarry near Nashville, Arkansas, yields thousands of huge dinosaur tracks—most likely from a plant-eater roaming in the Jurassic period.

 

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Andrew Schigelone // Shutterstock

#37. Michigan

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 7
- Genera with the most fossils: Meleagris (2 fossils), Aythya (2)
- Time period with the most fossils: Late Pleistocene (6 fossils)

Eroding sediment kept dinosaur bones from fossilizing in Michigan; however, there are some that have been discovered in the area. The University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology has several displays of local fossils for students to study, including Paleozoic and Mesozoic reptile relics. Meanwhile, the Irish Hills section of the Great Lake State is filled with life-size styrofoam and fiberglass reptiles that the property owner hopes to revive as a state attraction.

 

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Mike Beauregard // Flickr

#36. Delaware

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 11
- Genus with the most fossils: Ornithomimus (2 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Early Hemingfordian (5 fossils)

The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal is a major discovery site of dinosaur remains, reports the Delaware Geological Survey department, noting none of the relics assume certain species or genus. The Cretaceous-period fossils became unearthed during the canal's construction. Teeth and toes are two of the most popular types of relics found in Delaware, as well as the evidence of prehistoric turtles.

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Vladislav Gajic // Shutterstock

#35. Mississippi

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 12
- Genus with the most fossils: Not available
- Time period with the most fossils: Early Santonian (4 fossils)

New Albany, Mississippi, was home to a 2016 discovery of a 67-million-year-old horned dinosaur tooth. The Ceratopsian dinosaur tooth is only one of three of those style fossils ever discovered in the Eastern U.S., according to the curator and paleontologist George Phillips with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Phillips also confirmed that a 50-pound Mastodon fossil found in 2018 was likely from the Ice Age.

 

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Doug Lemke // Shutterstock

#34. Maine

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 15
- Genus with the most fossils: Alca (11 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Holocene (14 fossils)

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry reports two reasons for relics being scarce in the state are mountain building and erosion. But fossil enthusiasts can still get their kicks at museums and colleges throughout Maine, including Bowdoin. A reported gap in the geological record due to glaciers makes the likelihood of discovering an abundance of dinosaur bones little to none.

 

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Written In Silver Visuals // Shutterstock

#33. Nevada

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 18
- Genus with the most fossils: Not available
- Time period with the most fossils: Aptian (9 fossils)

Scientists in 2006 in Nevada confirmed the relics of four giant reptiles. The sauropod, dromaeosaurs, tyrannosauroid, and iguanodont fossils prove that prehistoric creatures once roamed Nevada’s deserts. Less than a decade later, in 2015, the fossilized remnants of an ichthyosaurs, a frightening prehistoric giant reptile, were found.

 

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marcsanchez // Shutterstock

#31. Washington (tie)

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 21
- Genus with the most fossils: Tonsala (7 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Rupelian (7 fossils)

The first documented dinosaur fossil was unearthed in 2015 in Washington State. That artifact was a thigh bone of a theropod, a dinosaur clade that includes the raptor and T-Rex. The species, thought to have migrated from Mexico between 80 and 50 million years ago, died in the region that is most popular for giant sloths, mastodons, and mammoths.

 

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2020 Photography // Shutterstock

#31. South Carolina (tie)

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 21
- Genus with the most fossils: Appalachiosaurus (3 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Late Campanian (6 fossils)

Two hadrosaur teeth discovered in 1986 were just the beginning of several dinosaur fossil finds in the early and mid-’90s. Specific Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic rocks were unearthed in a Batesburg outcrop on the southwestern side of the Palmetto State, allowing for the potential of more fossils. Whale and large crocodile fossils have also been found in the southeastern part of the state.

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James St. John // Flickr

#30. Illinois

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 31
- Genus with the most fossils: Ectopistes (8 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Holocene (31 fossil)

The Mesozoic period, which is notorious for eroding fossils rather than actively depositing them, was not kind to Illinois despite the area being suitable for dinosaur life. The Midwest state was a warm, swampy forest at the end of the dinosaur era. Evidence of prehistoric dinosaurs roaming the Prairie State includes “Tully Monster” fossils, Indiana’s official fossil dating back 300 million years. The Paleontology Portal reports a prosperous record of Quaternary fossils found from giant animals including stag moose and beaver.

 

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Brianna Burnett // Shutterstock

#29. Tennessee

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 34
- Genus with the most fossils: Aegolius (2 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Late Pleistocene (28 fossils)

Tennessee’s state museum is home to a lot of dinosaur bones, but the relics are not all necessarily from the region. Retired biologist Jim Kelsey and other volunteers at Earth Experience bring in and mold dinosaur bones and relics from Montana and other areas. During the Mesozoic era, marine-conditions kept the dinosaurs, who roamed further east, away.

 

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kamnuan // Shutterstock

#28. Pennsylvania

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 38
- Genus with the most fossils: Grallator (16 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Norian (26 fossils)

Distributed dinosaur tracks from the Mesozoic era confirm tyrannosaurs, raptors, and ceratopsians roamed the Quaker State. Pennsylvania State Museum curator and paleontologist Steven Jasinski said the fossilized dinosaur prints, specifically in southeastern sections of the state, are from the Triassic Period and are likely from grallators and atropos. A volunteer at Valley Forge Historical Park discovered fossilized tracks on 210 million-year-old rock slabs within the forest in 2017.

 

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James St. John // Flickr

#27. Ohio

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 41
- Genus with the most fossils: Meleagris (5 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Holocene (41 fossil)

The Ohio Geological Survey reports several fossil-rich sites throughout a few official Buckeye State museums, including Caesar Creek, Crown Lake, Stonelick, and Trammel Fossil. Some fossils, which date back 500 million years, may not be exact dinosaur relics due to sea level erosion—but that doesn’t mean they’re not monstrous. Take, for example, the 20-foot, one-ton Dunkleosteus found near Cleveland, which is most definitely a dinosaur fish.

 

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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Nebraska

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 42
- Genus with the most fossils: Pediohierax (4 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Clarendonian (12 fossils)

A 12-million-year-old volcano ash cloud killed prehistoric creatures, but it also protected their parts for paleontologists to study later. Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park is where said paleontologists gather annually in the summer to discover more relics from the period. At the same time, Fort Robinson State Park’s Trailside Museum houses two massive mammoth fossils. The animal fossils, unearthed in 1962, are locked together by their horns, meaning they were killed while face to face.

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Chris Dodds // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Oklahoma

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 53
- Genus with the most fossils: Camptosaurus (5 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Late Kimmeridgian (27 fossils)

Oklahoma’s state fossil—a Saurophaganax Maximus skull—was discovered in the 1930s in Cimarron County. The fossil comes from a 40-foot long, carnivorous dinosaur from the Jurassic Period. Oklahoma is home to other fossils too, including 10,000-year-old mammoth relics of tusk and teeth found at Quartz Mountain State Park. The Sam Noble Museum of Oklahoma History in Norman, which has the most massive collection of dinosaur artifacts outside the Smithsonian, offers digging expeditions for locals and tourists.

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Otar Gujejiani // Shutterstock

#24. Georgia

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 55
- Genus with the most fossils: Anas (9 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Late Pleistocene (48 fossils)

The incomplete remains from a Deinosuchus (a prehistoric crocodile) were unearthed in Georgia, where duck-billed dinosaur relics are most prevalent. The Peach State is also home to a plethora of ancient whale and shark fossils, as well as the Megalonyx, a massive ground sloth. Then there are the large (30% above average) chipmunk fossils, which prove the genus and species titled Tamias aristus was a Georgia local millions of years ago.

 

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James St. John // Flickr

#23. Kansas

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 56
- Genera with the most fossils: Parahesperornis (3 fossils), Ichthyornis (3), Hesperornis (3), Egretta (3)
- Time period with the most fossils: Blancan (7 fossils)

Kansas rancher Warren Condray found fossils in 1955 that were eventually named the state dinosaur and named after him. Many parts of the prehistoric creature, Silvisaurus condrayi, were unearthed over time. To date, the skull, back, and tailbone, neck, jaw, teeth, and more, all under the authority of the Kansas University Biodiversity Institute Natural History Museum, have been unearthed. The state does not keep the collection on constant display.

 

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Ralph Daily // Flickr

#22. Alabama

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 59
- Genera with the most fossils: Anas (2 fossils), Anas (2)
- Time period with the most fossils: Late Pleistocene (37 fossils)

McWane Science Center proudly displays prehistoric dinosaur bones, including the 22-foot Alabama Tyrannosaur and 13-foot armored dinosaur Nodosaur, both from the Late Cretaceous Period. During the 1940s, remnants of a Lophorhothon, classified as a duck-billed dinosaur or hadrosaur, were discovered in Selma. During the same decade, evidence of Squalicorax, a fierce Cretaceous period shark, was found, particularly from teeth marks infixed in prehistoric reptiles, including dinosaurs.

 

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Victoria Ditkovsky // Shutterstock

#21. Idaho

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 68
- Genus with the most fossils: Phalacrocorax (4 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Late Pliocene (19 fossils)

It wasn’t until the Cenozoic period that Idaho emerged from underwater and conditions were right to preserve fossils. Even the Tenontosaurus relics found there are assumed have originated in fossil-rich Wyoming.

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Foursqaure

#20. Maryland

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 73
- Genus with the most fossils: Ornithomimus (5 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Early Aptian (16 fossils)

Prince George County Dinosaur Park is the best place to find unearthed fossils, since it is precisely where the massive creatures spent their time. The park is not the only section of the state where fossils are found: Prehistoric shark teeth and shells have been unearthed at Calvert Cliffs. Drenched by the Atlantic in the Miocene era, Maryland has mostly turned up whale, sea cow, and shark relics from its regions.

 

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Maridav // Shutterstock

#19. Hawaii

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 83
- Genus with the most fossils: Apteribis (14 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Holocene (57 fossils)

An abundant prehistoric dinosaur history in Hawaii does not exist due to its islands forming around 6 million years ago. What Hawaii lacks in hearty dinosaur fossils it makes up for with Moa-Nalo relics: fossils from three certain types of prehistoric birds and snail shells.

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Maridav // Shutterstock

#18. Alaska

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 99
- Genus with the most fossils: Aethia (7 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Holocene (44 fossils)

The fossil of a 220-million-year-old dinosaur discovered in 2011 in southeast Alaska got a new species designation: Thalattosaur, or Gundadeit. Identifying the rare relic, thought to have been unearthed from tectonic activity in the Pacific Ocean, took a decade. The animal is thought to be a Triassic marine reptile. Another big discovery came in January 2020: fossils of duck-billed dinosaur discovered in the Colville River.

 

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James St. John // Flickr

#17. Connecticut

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 110
- Genus with the most fossils: Ornithoidichnites (19 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Hettangian (88 fossils)

Dinosaur State Park Arboretum boasting one of the largest dinosaur track sites in North America, featuring footprints from Dilophosoraous. Up to 2,000 footprints were found during a state building excavation, with 500 of the original tracks enclosed in the geodesic dome. The remaining tracks were buried for conservation. The fossilized dinosaur tracks assume the animal was at least 18-feet long. Other Connecticut fossils can be seen at the Yale Peabody Museum and Connecticut Science Center.

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Jim, the Photographer // Flickr

#16. New Jersey

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 132
- Genus with the most fossils: Grallator (12 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Norian (25 fossils)

New Jersey’s state fossil is from a duck-billed Hadrosaurus named foulkii in 1991. Hadrosaurus fossils were found as early as 1838, with Dryptosaurus fossils first discovered in the Garden State in 1866. However, like many seashores, New Jersey is renowned for more marine-like monsters, including the Icarosaurus, a lizard with leathery wings that likely lived during the Triassic Period. New Jersey is also famous for marine relics of 30-million-year-old crocodiles, sharks, and Mosasaurs as well as prehistoric land animals, including the massive mammoths and mastodons.

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Chris Wrede // Shutterstock

#15. North Carolina

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 142
- Genus with the most fossils: Puffinus (9 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Zanclean (106 fossils)

Raleigh was once home to a spiked reptile called Aetosaur that lived 230 million years ago within the then-swampy terrain. To see life-sized creatures of the Cretaceous period (between 145 and 66 million years ago), head to Durham’s dinosaur trail and fossil dig site.

 

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Alizada Studios // Shutterstock

#14. Oregon

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 145
- Genus with the most fossils: Larus (10 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Late Pleistocene (119 fossils)

A rare, land-dwelling dinosaur relic unearthed in Eastern Oregon in 2015—an ornithopod toe—proves prehistoric creatures roamed the state and represents Oregon’s most significant ancient find. Prominent fossil sites in the state include John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and Paisley Caves, as well as the Pittsburgh Bluff formation, Fossil Lake, and the Blue Mountains.

 

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Ferenc Cegledi // Shutterstock

#13. Arizona

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 147
- Genus with the most fossils: Grallator (5 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Norian (31 fossils)

Arizona is home to fossils from more than 15 dinosaur species. The state's natural history museum displays the most significant collection. Some of the most prominent prehistoric fossils come from the Dilophosaurus, Sarahsaurus, Sonorasaurus, Chindesaurus, and Segisaurus. Petrified Forest National Park also has relics proving the presence of human-size bipedal carnivores in the region.

 

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USDAgov // Wikimedia Commons

#12. South Dakota

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 153
- Genus with the most fossils: Triceratops (10 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Maastrichtian (57 fossils)

South Dakota’s Black Hills are home to the most dinosaur fossils in the state. A handful of other spots—including the Journey Museum and Mammoth Site, not to mention The Badlands—also house prehistoric relics.

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Wollertz // Shutterstock

#11. North Dakota

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 250
- Genus with the most fossils: Tyrannosaurus (22 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Maastrichtian (184 fossils)

North Dakota digs have unearthed Tyrannosaurus and Triceratop bones, among dozens of other fossils found throughout the state. The North Dakota Geological Survey hosts digs, and at least eight other spots have a plethora of prehistoric fossils, including the Three Affiliated Tribes Museum and Dickinson Museum Center.

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Ryan Somma // Flickr

#10. Virginia

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 258
- Genus with the most fossils: Miocepphus (11 fossil)
- Time period with the most fossils: Late Pleistocene (177 fossils)

Virginia is rich in fossils, but can only claim the remnants of one dinosaur so far: the Tanytrachelos, a small insect-eater which dates back 225 million years. Prehistoric fossils from insects and whales, along with ancient mammoths and mastodons, also come from the region.

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L.A. Nature Graphics // Shutterstock

#9. Massachusetts

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 334
- Genus with the most fossils: Brontozoum (70 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Hettangian (325 fossils)

Massachusett's official state fossil is a set of dinosaur tracks from a 50-foot long theropod discovered in Granby. Remains of an Anchisarus, a plant-eating dinosaur from the Mesozoic Era, prove the prehistoric animals roamed the Bay State. Natural history museums throughout the state, including Berkshire Museum, house the hundreds of state fossils. Unfortunately, fossils from a two-legged therapod Podokesaurus discovered in 1910 got destroyed in a museum fire.

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Diane Turner // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Texas

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 447
- Genus with the most fossils: Saurornitholestes (13 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Albian (113 fossils)

Paluxy River reveals the tracks of prehistoric creatures within Dinosaur Valley State Park. In 2019, the Lone Star state’s most extensive collection of ancient creature fossils got named Convolosaurus marri, which means flocking lizard. Post Oak Creek, Lake Whitney, and Mineral Wells Fossil Park house dozens of the state fossils, while the less formal Dinosaur World has up to 100 life-size dinosaurs on a 20-acre safari trail offers some prehistoric fun to locals and tourists alike.

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Danielle Beder // Shutterstock

#7. Colorado

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 556
- Genus with the most fossils: Caririchnium (32 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Kimmeridgian (226 fossils)

The world’s first Stegosaurus fossil was discovered in Colorado in 1877 at Dinosaur Ridge, which is also one of the world’s best spots for dinosaur footprints, with 300 tracks across a two-mile hike. The Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry in the northwest corner of the state has roughly 1,500 dinosaur bones that can be seen stuck in a cliff wall.

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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#6. Utah

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 667
- Genus with the most fossils: Grallator (44 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Kimmeridgian (90 fossils)

The 1996 unearthing of an Allosaurus skull in Dinosaur National Monument Park using radiation detection resulted in the discovery of a new species. Red Fleet State Park is home to several dinosaur footprints, although officials are worried that visitors are destroying many of them.

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Jaroslav Moravcik // Shutterstock

#5. New Mexico

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 882
- Genus with the most fossils: Alamosaurus (19 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Late Campanian (518 fossils)

The San Juan Basin is one of the most well-preserved dinosaur fossil sites in the state, one of four featuring well-preserved Tyrannosaurus fossils. Ghost Ranch is home to Whittaker Quarry, which has many Coelophysis fossils, and Hayden Quarry, the site of the oldest North American dinosaur fossil.

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Phil Lowe // Shutterstock

#4. Florida

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 887
- Genus with the most fossils: Anas (52 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Late Pleistocene (393 fossils)

The fossils of saber-tooth cats, giant woolly mammoths, and American mastodons make of much of Florida’s ancient animal collections. Prehistoric sharks and horses also lived in the Sunshine State based on relics found in the region. Plant City is home to Dinosaur World, which features hundreds of life-sized dinosaurs.

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Hugh K Telleria // Shutterstock

#3. Montana

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 909
- Genus with the most fossils: Tenontosaurus (54 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Lancian (245 fossils)

The first dinosaur bone discovered in North America was found in Montana in 1854 near Judith Landing. Paleontologist Barnum Brown uncovered the first T-Rex bone in 1902 near Hell Creek, and Leonardo, a Brachylophosaurus found near Malta, is the world’s best-preserved dinosaur by the Guinness Book of World Records. A legal battle over one of Montana’s most famous dinosaur fossil discoveries—two dinosaurs more than 20 feet long engaged in battle—is ongoing to answer whether fossils are minerals and, therefore, whose property they are.

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Linnas // Shutterstock

#2. Wyoming

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 1,082
- Genus with the most fossils: Triceratops (46 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Kimmeridgian (357 fossils)

One of just two states that have more than 1,000 PBDB-recorded fossils, Wyoming was where the first Triceratops was identified. In 2013, three Triceratops skeletons were found in Newcastle nearly intact, with evidence that at least one suffered a violent end at the hands of a Tyrannosaurus. The Wyoming Dinosaur Center offers 30 mounted skeletons and the “Dig for the Day” program led TIME Magazine for Kids to name it one of the coolest places in 2019.

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Lux Blue // Shutterstock

#1. California

- Total fossils recorded in PBDB: 1,473
- Genus with the most fossils: Phalacrocorax (81 fossils)
- Time period with the most fossils: Holocene (596 fossils)

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has a collection with more than 300 fossils and 20 fully reconstructed dinosaurs on display in the Jane G. Pisano Dinosaur Hall. The only two known fossils from Augustynolophus, a duck-billed plant-eater, were discovered near Fresno around 1940, becoming California’s state dinosaur in 2017. More than 100 digs have been performed in the La Brea Tar Pits, including one to install a parking garage in 2006 that uncovered a nearly full Columbian mammoth.

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