Fish Fossils

From Ohio History Central

Geologists have found the earliest known fossils of fishes in rocks of the ancient Cambrian Period. However, in Ohio the oldest fossil fishes come from later, younger Devonian rocks.


Habitat:Aquatic (both marine and fresh water)
Modern Forms:Lampreys, sharks, bass, etc.
Geologic Span:Cambrian Period to the present.
In Ohio:Devonian fishes from the Cleveland area and Pennsylvanian fishes from eastern Ohio are known worldwide because of their many different kinds and their large numbers.


Over the years, scientists at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History have done a great deal of very important research on fossil fishes.

They have found many of their fossil specimens in shale of Devonian age in the Cleveland area. The very large fish Dunkleosteus is one of the Cleveland Museum’s most important fossils. It can be seen on display at the Museum in Cleveland. Visitors to the Orton Geological Museum on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus can see a cast of its skull.


  • Rhodes, Frank H.T. Fossils: A Guide to Prehistoric Life; Golden Press, New York; 1962.
  • Skinner, Brian J. & Stephen C. Porter The Blue Planet: An Introduction to Earth System Science; Wiley, New York; 1995.

See Also