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Calvert Cliffs: A Treasure Trove of Fossils

Evening Program

Inside Science program

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1L0244
Calvert Cliffs State Park, MD

This program is also available with an added tour on April 25. Click here for more information.

Calvert Cliffs dominate the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay for roughly 24 miles in Calvert County. The sediments that comprise the cliffs and fossils they entomb were deposited 10 to 20 million years ago when all of Southern Maryland was covered by a warm, shallow sea. When the sea receded, the cliffs became exposed and in the process revealed one of the richest treasure troves of fossils on the planet. More than 600 different species of prehistoric organisms are represented, including sharks and rays, whales, and seabirds the size of small airplanes.

Stephen Godfrey, a Smithsonian research associate and curator of paleontology at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Maryland, traces the fascinating history of the cliffs, discusses the amazing diversity of fossils that they preserve, and the picture they present of the Mid-Atlantic environment during the Miocene epoch. Godfrey highlights some particularly unique fossils, including shark-bitten coprolites (fossilized feces) and whalebones bitten by the extinct giant-tooth shark, Megalodon

Inside Science

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)