Our goal is to establish a Not-for-Profit organization for the purpose of preserving an area of great scientific importance in Herkimer County, New York. The site — near the town of Ilion — contains well-preserved exposures of the 435-million-year-old Fiddler's Green Formation (Silurian period). This formation produces exceptional fossils which are the world's finest examples of Eurypterus remipes — an extinct aquatic arthropod, popularly called a "sea scorpion." This rare and fascinating creature is the state fossil of New York.
The Fiddler's Green formation outcrops on private land owned by Allan and Iris Langheinrich, longtime residents of Herkimer County. For many years, the site has been studied by paleontologists and has been made available by the Langheinrichs' for visits by school groups, paleontological societies, and scientific institutions. In 2002, a team of senior paleontologists from London's Museum of Natural History visited the site for an extended period of time. A large numbers of specimens were donated to the Museum's collection.
In addition to paleontological and geological research work at the site, we are actively involved in preserving the local woodlands, wetlands, and wildlife, and we are engaged in long-term ecological and conservation work, including reforestation.
Many world-class fossil specimens have been found at the site, and a substantial number now reside in major museums and private collections around the world. A seven-foot-tall composite fossil of the giant aquatic arthropod Pterygotus (a member of the eurypterid family) recovered at the site, is the largest of its kind ever found; it is now a centerpiece of the Royal Ontario Museum's paleontological display.
Nowhere else in the world can eurypterid specimens of this quality be found. Therefore, due to the paleontological, geological, and ecological importance of this locality — and the unique relationship between New York and its state fossil — it is our hope to create a museum and educational center on the site. This center would contain a world-class museum display featuring some of the finest fossil specimens collected at the site; facilities for visiting paleontologists, researchers, high school and college groups would be available. In addition, we propose to build a training center for students interested in learning about fossil preparation. "Fossil prep" work is a highly sought-after skill, and with the current shortage of such artisans, it is our intention to help train the next generation of skilled preparers.
STATE FOSSIL OF NEW YORK EURYPTERUS REMIPES
It is our hope that the magnificent examples of Eurypterus remipes — the best-preserved examples of their kind, and found exclusively at this location — will come to enjoy greater recognition as our state fossil, and that the quarry site will be preserved for future generations of enthusiasts and scientists to study and enjoy.
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