Old Fossils - New Tech
Cleveland Shale: Locally Found, World Renowned

Shark Fossil
February 28 - September 5

Governor Thomas Worthington Center
The Ohio Statehouse
1 Capitol Square
Columbus, OH 43215


Ohio was covered with a tropical ocean during the Devonian Period, about 359 million years ago.  Sharks and other creatures lived here. See the fossilized remains of a shark and a predatory fish, Dunkleosteus, on display at the Ohio Statehouse courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.


Ohio's official state fossil fish is the Dunkleosteus terrelli.  Dunkleosteus fossils are found across Northeast Ohio in the Cleveland Shale rock layer.  Early paleontologists reconstructed these fossils by cleaning the bones and fitting them together on mounts.  


Today, Museum scientists are incorporating new technology into the study of ancient life by 3D surface-scanning fossils and 3D printing replicas of the bones.  


The Museum’s Cleveland Shale collection houses more than 16,000 fossils that have been uncovered in Northeast Ohio over the last 100 years.  Now, scientists are improving storage technology to ensure the preservation of these fossils for generations to come.  


The fossils and banners will be displayed at the Ohio Statehouse in the Governor Thomas Worthington Center through August 2023 along with a brief video, thanks to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  


Note:  In 2023, public Fossil Tours of the Ohio Statehouse are planned for April 22 and October 11, 2023.  Check for details soon.