Falls of the Ohio State Park
time was a period of great change across the Tree of Life. Reef
ecosystems saw new and more varied forms, including the ammonoids
and fish. It was also a time when life achieved the critical milestone
of adapting to land. In the sea, ammonoids and fish evolved and
quickly diversified. Primitive plants that gained a foothold in
the Silurian went on to form forests. Arthropods and ultimately
tetrapods were plodding the lands. The first insects, spiders,
and tetrapods appeared.
near Clarksville, Ohio is one of the most amazing Devonian fossil
sites in the world. Within the Falls of the Ohio State Park, visitors
can see the traces of life left in a gigantic coral reef that
stretches from Louisville north to Indianapolis and represents
deposition spanning some 45 million years. It has one of the highest
species diversities known from a single locality in the Devonian
(about 600 species of which 2/3rds are "type" specimens,
or species discovered and recorded there for the first time anywhere
in the world. It is one of the best-preserved and most accessible
Devonian fossil beds (coral-stromatoporoid bioherm) in the world.
An average of 500,000 visitors annually visit the park.