Article Series

Series: Grand Canyon Collections—Paleontology

The fossils found within Grand Canyon span over a billion years of Earth history, from stromatolites found in the Bass Limestone (1.2 billion years ago) to Pleistocene megafauna (15,000 years ago) exhumed from cave sediments. The park’s fossil resource have been known to scientists for over 100 years. Recently, NPS scientists used imaging techniques to create virtual 3D fossils.The examples below are just some of your park’s paleontological treasures.

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 1: Coiled Nautiloid

    3d model of fossil nautiloid on plain color background

    Interactive 3D Model Collected from the Kaibab Limestone in Grand Canyon National Park. Holotype specimen. Read more

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 2: Brachiopod Fossil

    3d model of fossil clam on larger rock

    Interactive 3D Model Collected from the Kaibab Limestone in Grand Canyon National Park. Specimen was formerly on display at the Yavapai Geology Museum. Read more

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 3: American Cheetah Fossil

    model of fossil cheetah jaw on plain color background

    Interactive 3D Model Pleistocene subfossil collected from a cave in the Grand Canyon during a 1936-1937 Civilian Conservation Corps expedition. Read more

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 4: Trilobite

    3d model of trilobite fossil on rock slab

    Interactive 3D Model Collected from the Bright Angel Shale in Grand Canyon National Park. Read more

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 5: Shasta Ground Sloth

    3d model of sloth skull on plain color background

    Interactive 3D Model Pleistocene giant ground sloth recovered from Rampart Cave. Collected in the 1930's during excavation work within the cave. In addition to bones, this cave also preserved pieces of sloth fur and large amounts of sloth manure. Read more

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 6: Crinoid Fossil

    model of crinoid segments in rock slab

    Interactive 3D Model Collected from the Kaibab Limestone in Grand Canyon National Park. Read more

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 7: Seed Fern Fossil

    3d model of seed fern fossil on rock surface

    Interactive 3D Model Collected from the Hermit Shale in Grand Canyon National Park by Frank Richardson in 1938. Read more

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 8: California Condor Fossil

    3d model of condor skull on plain color background

    Interactive 3D Model Pleistocene subfossil collected from a cave in Grand Canyon National Park. Read more

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 9: Fossil Vertebrate Trackways

    model of fossil tracks on rock slab

    Interactive 3D Model These tracks, located in a large fallen block of the Coconino Sandstone within Grand Canyon National Park are evidence of early tetrapods inhabiting deserts during the late Paleozoic (early Permian). Read more

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 10: Harrington’s Mountain Goat

    3d model of goat skull on plain color background

    Interactive 3D Model Harrington’s Goat (Oreamnos harringtoni) is an extinct species of caprine that was found in the Southwestern part of North America during the last ice age. Osteologically, the Harrington was smaller (by a 1/3) than the living mountain goat, O. americanus, to which it is related, but with relatively robust feet, a proportionally long but narrow skull, and smaller horns. Read more

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 11: Stock’s Vampire Bat

    3d model of bat skull

    Interactive 3D Model Stock’s vampire bat fossils are often found in association with giant ground sloths, which suggests they might have been one of this bat’s preferred sources of food. Read more

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 12: Dragonfly Wing Fossil

    3d model of dragonfly wing fossil on rock surface

    Interactive 3D Model This fossil, is the type specimen for T. whitei and is from the Hermit Shale of Lower Permian time (~280 million years old). This nearly complete fore-wing is from an early and much larger insect similar to a dragonfly. Read more

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 13: Fossil Tetrapod Foot Prints

    3d model of fossil tracks on larger rock slab

    Interactive 3D Model Several sets of various size tracks from the ichnogenus Chelichnus in the Coconino Sandstone. Tracks are found along the Hermit trail in Grand Canyon National Park. Read more

  • Grand Canyon National Park

    Chapter 14: Phyllodont Fish Tooth Plate

    3d model of fossil on larger rock

    Interactive 3D Model This is mold of a Permian age fish plate. Fish plates are tooth-like structures found in early fish and are known from the Pennsylvanian to the Permian periods. Read more