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MARTIN, Tenn. — A small, prehistoric clam is the state’s official fossil, thanks to the Tennessee General Assembly and geology students at the University of Tennessee-Martin.

At the urging of students in Dr. Michael Gibson’s geology class, the legislature has resolved to designate the clam as the state fossil.

Known to researchers as pterotrigonia scrabrotrigonia thoracica, the clam lived about 70 million years ago on the floor of a shallow ocean, now West Tennessee.

Gibson said the clam makes a good state fossil.

“It’s very distinctive, easy to recognize, has a real strong shell, and is an extinct species,” Gibson said.,p> Tennessee has had a state bird, state flower, and state song, but it was the 36th state to designate an official fossil.

The resolution, sponsored by State Rep. Mark Maddox of Dresden, was approved by the House, the Senate concurring.

Contact: Bud Grimes (901-587-7615)