The State Fossil Fish is Dunkleosteus

The State Fossil Fish
October 29 - June 27

Museum Gallery
The Ohio Statehouse
1 Capitol Square
Columbus, OH 43215


A replica of the State fossil fish of Ohio, Dunkleosteus terrelli, is displayed at the Ohio Statehouse Museum Education Center.  This 2021-2022 exhibit is courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  


Dunkleosteus terrelli became the official State fossil fish on March 24, 2021.  


The Ohio Revised Code says, “Dunkleosteus terrelli, a species of extinct arthrodire placoderm fish that lived in the seas that covered parts of Ohio during the Late Devonian period, about three hundred fifty-nine to three hundred eighty-two million years ago, is hereby adopted as the official fossil fish of the state.”


The exhibit displays a cast of a giant armored skull of an ancient predator that once swam the seas of Northeast Ohio. 358 million years ago, a shallow sea teeming with marine life covered Northeast Ohio. Dunkleosteus terrelli, the largest predator and one of the fiercest creatures alive in the Devonian “Age of Fishes”, ruled the subtropical waters. Up to 20 feet in length and weighing more than 1 ton, this arthrodire fish was capable of chopping prehistoric sharks into chum! Dunkleosteus had a massive skull made of thick, bony plates, and 2 sets of fang-like protrusions near the front of powerful, self-sharpening jawbones.


You can’t miss this exciting fish on the ground floor near the Capitol Cafe.  For more information, there are information sheets in the Map Room brochure stand.