Mississippi State Fossils: Prehistoric Whales (Basilosaurus cetoides and Zygorhiza kochii)
The state fossils of Mississippi are the ancient whales Basilosaurus cetoides and Zygorhiza kochii. Learn more about these ancient whales and their relatives here.
The early whale Zygorhiza kochii. Photograph by "FunkMonk" (Wikimedia Commons; Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license).
Mississippi State Rock: Petrified Wood
Petrified wood is designated as Mississippi’s state rock, although it is actually a type of fossil. At the Mississippi Petrified Forest in Flora, Mississippi, a large number of logs became fossilized after they washed down an ancient river channel and were buried by sediment, preventing them from decaying (learn more here). Eventually, the organic material was replaced with silicate minerals.
Large piece of petrified wood on display at the Mississippi Petrified Forest. Photograph by "DM" (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-NoDervis 2.0 Generic license).
Mississippi State Mineral: None.
Mississippi does not have an official state mineral. What do you think it should be? Answer in the comments below!
Mississippi State Gem:
Mississippi does not have an official state gem. What do you think it should be? Answer in the comments below!
Mississippi's Highest and Lowest Elevations
Highest Elevation: Woodhall Mountain
Mississippi's highest point is Woodall Mountain, with an elevation of 246 meters (807 feet). The mountain was originally called Yow Hill, and it was the scene of the 1862 Battle of Iuka during the American Civil War. It is located near Mississippi Highway 25 in the state's northeastern corner.
Woodhall Mountain, the highest point in Mississippi. Photograph by Skye Marthaler (Wikimedia Commons; Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license).
Lowest Elevation: Gulf of Mexico Shoreline
The lowest points in Mississippi are found along the coast, where the shoreline meets the Gulf of Mexico.
Places to Visit
Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
Mississippi State University.
Mississippi Petrified Forest
Fossilized logs at Petrified Forest, Mississippi. Photograph by "faungg" (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-NoDervis 2.0 Generic license).