Treasures from the Cliffs: Paleontology at CMM

Our Prehistoric Past is a story of tremendous change over millions of years. Ancient creatures that swam where the museum now sits have left clues of their existence embedded in the cliffs. These fossils can teach us about their ancient world and the world we live in today.

What's in the Gallery

The paleontology gallery opens with a prehistoric time line that fills the entire entry wall. This large mural includes many iconic fossils from Earth's prehistoric past to show where the fossil from Calvert Cliffs fit into the grand scheme of things. Our exhibits also include original fossils of all the known groups of sea shelled animals that occur in the Miocene deposits of Calvert Cliffs, as well as the remains of sharks, fish, turtles, crocodiles, birds, whales, and land animals from this prehistoric time. Opposite the time line is a screen showing a geo-animation video that will help you understand the geologic changes that have taken place in this region.

As you turn the corner, you will see a reproduction of the Calvert Cliffs showing how our paleontologists remove and prepare fossils, and across from that is a field guide showing many of the more common fossils found along the local beaches. 

The heart of the exhibit a life-size diorama recreates the world of the Miocene. A 35 foot skeletal restoration of the extinct Miocene giant white shark, Otodus megalodon dominates the gallery. It’s gaping, tooth-filled jaws are a favorite photo op for visitors. At the end of the gallery you will find the fossil preparation lab. This is where trained volunteers prepare fossils found along the beaches. They will be happy to answer your questions. For a downloadable guide, click here.

Want to learn more about fossils?

We offer many opportunities to learn more about the fascinating science of paleontology. You can sign up for a Fossil Field Experience through our education department, attend stimulating lectures by renowned scientists, join our Fossil Club, or for the younger set, attend our Jr. Paleontologist camp.

If you have an unusual fossil from Calvert Cliffs, our Curator of Paleontology would be happy to help you identify your find. Please call ahead for an appointment 410-326-2042 ext. 8047.