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 by George Phillips, Paleontology Curator, MDWFP’s MS Museum of Natural Science


Earlier this week, I was inspecting the most recent (2014) (Photos 1 & 2, below) of the museum’s two on-site fossil-bearing sediment piles to see what fossiliferous ‘goodies’ had emerged since last month’s check.

Interestingly, this sediment, belonging to the Moodys Branch Formation, was dug from the foundation of the new history museum in downtown Jackson.

The older of the museum’s two fossil piles (2000) (Photo 3, below) is in the front of the museum and is used for educational purposes and other group activities on a fairly regular basis.

Photo 3



It hails from beneath the Wal-Mart/Lowe’s plaza in Meridian. Both piles are rich with fossils, as you can see from what I picked up in just 4-5 minutes.



Photo 4


We have Dr. David Dockery (Photo 4, right) of the Mississippi Office of Geology to thank for arranging the delivery of the two sediment piles, as well as the massive fossil-rich boulders associated with the first one.

Dr. Dockery also provided the three cases of beautiful mollusks (seashells) on display in the museum’s fossil exhibits downstairs.

The mollusks of the Eocene Epoch have been a large part of his life’s work, and he is currently updating, in great photographic detail and full color, his famous Bulletin 120 (originally B&W) on the mollusks of the late Eocene Moodys Branch Formation. (Photos 5 & 6, below)

Just last year, Dr. Dockery published his magnum opus – an exceedingly thorough report on the geology and paleontology of the great State of Mississippi – the only one of its caliber in any state in the U.S. (Photo 7, below)

Photo 7



And just this week, Dr. Dockery reached another career milestone!




After a life of work in the research program at the Mississippi Office of Geology, studying our state’s geological wonders and natural resources, with his small cadre of very competent comrades, he was awarded the honorable distinction of the State Geologist of Mississippi.

Photo 8









In the succession of state geologists since the founding of the state geological survey in 1850, Dr. Dockery is #19.

Congratulations, Dr. Dockery and thank you for your support of the museum!