Louisiana is well-known for being the state in which the Mississippi River ends as well as for having many low-lying, swampy areas. In that regard, the modern state is similar to the land it was millions of years ago. While many unique plants and creatures thrive in this area today, we don’t have much evidence of those that came before. Take a look at why we don’t know about the dinosaurs that lived in Louisiana in the past and how much of the state’s geological history is lost.
What Is Louisiana’s State Dinosaur?
Louisiana does not have a state dinosaur. Instead, they have a state fossil, petrified palm wood. The plant belonged to the Palmoxylon genus. This plant was known for its rod-like structure within the wood’s grain. These sclerenchyma bundles helped the plant achieve the stability and strength to grow vertically.
Petrified palmwood from this genus has been found in many places throughout the world. Over 200 species from this genus have been found so far, from the U.S. to Asia.
Now, you may be wondering why Louisiana has a state fossil instead of a state dinosaur. Unfortunately, no fossil evidence of dinosaurs has been recovered in Louisiana. That may seem quite unusual given the fact that Texas, a neighboring state, was home to over a dozen genera of dinosaurs throughout history.
Let’s take a closer look at the reasons why paleontologists and geologists haven’t recovered dinosaur fossils in this state.
Why Is There A Lack Of Evidence About Dinosaurs That Lived In Louisiana?
Scientists don’t know whether or not dinosaurs ever lived in Louisiana. However, they do know that a dinosaur fossil has never been recovered in Louisiana.
The conditions in this part of the world are not conducive to developing dinosaur fossils. For one thing, Louisiana was covered by a shallow sea for the majority of the Cretaceous period. That means dinosaurs probably didn’t live in much of the state during that time. Rather than contributing to the geological sediments in the state, most Cretaceous-era fossils were likely eroded away.
Another issue that scientists have when trying to find dinosaur fossils is that Cretaceous sediments containing possible dinosaur fossils are currently buried under Cenozoic sediments. Few places in Louisiana have exposed Cretaceous sediments. The exception is a small area of northwest Louisiana, but no dinosaur fossils have been found in that area yet, either.
Evidence that dinosaurs that lived in Louisiana could be waiting deeper below the surface. However, a large-scale excavation to even seek Cretaceous-era rocks, if they were not eroded, would be needed to find them.
What Are The Dinosaurs That Lived Near Louisiana?
We do not know which dinosaurs lived in Louisiana. Scientists do not even know if any dinosaurs lived in Louisiana. However, we do know that no dinosaur fossils have ever been recovered in Louisiana. However, we have abundant evidence that dinosaurs lived in nearby states. Let’s consider a few of the dinosaurs that lived in states close to Louisiana.
Few states have as much evidence of dinosaurs as Texas. At least 14 different species lived in this part of the world throughout the dinosaur’s long reign. Some of them include: Paluxysaurus, Technosaurus, and Acrocanthosaurus.
The variety of dinosaurs in this state is interesting. The massive reptiles left behind fossil evidence of their existence spanning hundreds of millions of years. Fortunately, you can see evidence of these beasts at various museums and in nature in places where dinosaurs left footprints.
Arkansas was home to fewer dinosaurs than Texas. At least, scientists recovered fewer fossils in Arkansas than they did in Texas. Six genera of dinosaurs left fossils evidence in Arkansas. These include Acrocanthosaurus, Sauroposeidon, Nodosaursia, Deinonychus, and Arkansaurus fridayi, the state dinosaur of Arkansas.
While Mississippi has scant evidence of dinosaurs in the state, at least five different types of dinosaurs were discovered there. Mississippi was home to unidentified hadrosaurids, a member of the Ceratopsidae, Saurornitholestes, a member of Ornithomimidae, and a theropod that may have been Appalachiosaurus.
As you can see, many dinosaurs have inhabited states near Louisiana. However, for one reason or another, they all have better fossil records from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous eras when dinosaurs roamed the planet.
Where Can You See Fossils Of Dinosaurs That Lived In Louisiana?
Unfortunately, you can’t find fossils of dinosaurs that lived in Louisiana because such fossils do not exist. However, you can see fossils of other prehistoric creatures that lived in Louisiana. Take a look at some of the establishments and the fossils that they hold in their collections.
The Lafayette Science Museum is a great place to start looking for fossils of ancient animals from Louisiana. The first floor of the museum has exhibits featuring the fossil casts of large animals that lived in North America. These include the American Mastodon, the giant ground sloth, and more.
The University of Louisiana Lafayette Geology Museum houses the university’s rocks, minerals, and fossils. You’ll have to reach out to the university to check the availability of their collections, though. Various other museums throughout the state host dinosaur exhibits from time to time as well.
Unfortunately, Louisiana does not have a great number of dinosaur fossils available. Paleontologists and geologists may find exposed sediments dating back farther than they have before. For now, though, it seems like fossil hunters will simply need to turn their focus from dinosaurs to the megafauna that lived in the region.
Louisiana’s museum house fossils of mastodons, hipparion, Basilosaurus, glyptodon, and many others.
Summary Of Where To See Fossils Today
|Where To See Fossils Today
|Lafayette Science Museum
|The University of Louisiana Lafayette Geology Museum
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Catmando/Shutterstock.com
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