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Fossil Identification Key


Identifying Unknown Fossils (by descriptive terms)

Fossils come in many shapes and sizes. Paleontologists classify and identify fossils based on their shapes and appearance. Thousands of different fossils can be found in Kentucky and surrounding States. Identifying all of the types requires experts, however, many of the most common types can be easily identified. If you think you know the kind of fossil (eg., trilobite, brachiopod) go to the Kinds of Fossils Found in Kentucky section and compare to the pictures provided. However, if you don't know what kind of fossil you have, this section was compiled to try and point you in the right direction. Here you can choose a word from the following list that seems to describe the fossil you are trying to identify. The list contains common adjectives that have been used by amateurs who have brought fossils to the Kentucky Geological Survey for identification. Very often what a fossil looks like, is not actually what it is. If a word that you would use to describe your fossil is not in the list, try to identify the fossil by using the illustrations in Identifying Unknown Fossils (by shape).

The fossil looks like an: