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Nevada Government & Politics
Contemporary Nevada
(1964-Present)

State Fossil: Ichthyosaur

In 1977 the legislature designated an official state fossil.  Fossils are the remains, impressions, or traces of animals or plants of past ages that have been preserved in the earth's crust by changing into rock.  About 160 millions years ago, parts of Nevada were covered with a warm ocean.  Ichthyosaurs, or huge "fish lizards," swam in these seas.  These enormous fish could grow to be 70 feet long and were shaped something like a present day whale or porpoise.  One of the skeletons found in central Nevada was 50 feet long and the skull bones weigh 1,200 pounds.  The ichthyosaur was a dinosaur of the ocean.
 

Photo Credit:
Nevada Historical Society