UW-Extension Cooperative Extension
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Contact: Mindy James, 608/263.7394
Entry Date: March, 2003
File Under: Natural Resources
Fossils of Wisconsin described in new booklet
Madison - Have you ever wanted to collect fossils-the remains of organisms that lived millions of years ago-but didn't know where to start looking? Or are you just interested in learning more about the diverse life forms that used to exist in Wisconsin?
A new booklet, entitled “Common Paleozoic Fossils of Wisconsin,” published by the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, can help you. The authors, Ross Nehm and Bryan Bemis, grew up in Wisconsin and spent a lot of time clambering through quarries and over rocks, looking for evidence of now-extinct creatures. They went on to study paleontology (the study of ancient life based on fossilized plants and animals) at the University of Wisconsin.
The authors describe how and where fossils form, when they lived (the Paleozoic covers the period of time from about 570 to 245 million years ago), what fossils tell us about ancient environments, how to collect fossils, and general localities where you might find fossils.
The heart of the booklet lies in its drawings. Nehm illustrated the booklet; his drawings of the fossils have a textured, dimensional quality. These illustrations will aid the collectors in identifying fossils that they have discovered in their travels in Wisconsin or perhaps inspire a trip to a nearby quarry or roadcut (after obtaining permission from a landowner, of course) to begin a collection.
The 25-page booklet is available for $7 from the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, 3817 Mineral Point Road, Madison, Wisconsin 53705-5100; telephone 608/263.7389. Mail-order customers should add $4.50 for shipping and handling; Wisconsin residents should also include 5 or 5.5 percent sales tax (depending on county of residence) to the entire amount of the order. MasterCard and Visa customers may telephone their orders between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, a part of the University of Wisconsin-Extension, has the principal assignment among state agencies to survey Wisconsin's geological, mineral, and soil resources and shares the responsibility of surveying water and biological resources; the Survey also sells technical and educational reports and maps.