Why is Vermont's state fossil a whale?
In 1849, workers building the railroad in Charlotte found the skeleton of a whale! Charlotte is far from the ocean today. But 12,500 years ago, Charlotte was under water. The Champlain Sea spread across Vermont after the glaciers moved north. This whale died over 10,000 years ago. Its bones stayed buried in the ground for many years. The skeleton is now at the Perkins Geology Museum at the University of Vermont. In 1993, the white whale became Vermont’s state fossil.
Thinking About History
Historians ask questions to think deeply about history.
The whale fossil is evidence of how Vermont's land has changed over the past 12,500 years. What are other examples of how Vermont's landscape has changed?
Follow the links below to explore related topics.
Learn more about Charlotte, the Vermont Whale, at the UVM Perkins Museum of Geology
Watch the video Charlotte Whale from This Place in History
Read the article Beneath the Surface from Historic Roots Magazine
Explore how Vermont's landscape has changed over time with the Landscape Change Program website
Watch the video Mount Holly Railroad from This Place in History about a mammoth fossil
Copy and paste this citation to show where you did your research.
Vermont Historical Society. "Charlotte Whale." Vermont History Explorer. Accessed April 14, 2021. https://vermonthistoryexplorer.org/vermont-state-fossil