Maryland Department of Natural Resources


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Figure 8a

Walk east through the War Memorial Plaza and cross Gay Street. At the north and south corners the War Memorial Building there are two large horse statues (Figure 8a).

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Figure 8b

The base of the statue at the corner of Gay and Fayette Streets contains fossils not often visible in other construction using limestone. The longer wormy-looking fossils are not the fossilized worms themselves, but trace fossils which are evidence of an organism (in this case a worm) that once passed through the rock when it was soft sediment. These marine worms ingested sediment through their digestive system. As the worms burrowed, they removed whatever nutrition was in the material and excreted the rest. The excreted material changed the chemical composition of the soft limey muds such that the path was fossilized, and is commonly called a worm burrow (Figures 8b).

Many other creatures, including molluscs and shrimp, burrow into the sediment for food or shelter. Later when a burrow is filled in with a sediment of contrasting texture, the burrow may be preserved as a trace fossil (Figure 8c).

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Figure 8c