Prehistoric West Virginia is an educational outreach of Paleontology
enthusiasts in the Mountain State. Ray Garton, a geologist and curator
of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey's Geology
Museum, is the primary initiator of the project. Dave Board
has provided the web design service, and Bob Pyle, noted West Virginia
archaeologist and fossil collector, is a major source of material
for the site. Garton and Board are also owners of PrehistoricPlanet.com
which sponsors these pages.
Our goal is to inspire enthusiasm for paleontology
with a twofold approach: by increasing awareness of West Virginia's
rich natural history and by shedding light on the little-known exotic
life-forms that inhabited the earth before the time of the dinosaurs.
The dinosaur age (the Mesozoic Era) is increasingly the subject
of films, books, TV shows and daily conversation. Unfortunately,
this admittedly great age has dwarfed other great periods like the
Paleozoic in the public eye. We hope especially to correct this
skewed perspective of geologic history by revealing the coal-age
monsters of West Virginia.
The rock formations of the Mountain State are predominately
Paleozoic in age, representing the time before the dinosaurs roamed
the earth. But this era was not without exciting and mysterious
creatures and plant life. Keep an eye on these pages for a glimpse
into this fascinating time in our planet's history.
A West Virginia Paleontologist
Ray is a West Virginia native, raised on Elk River in Webster County,
Buckhannon and Barrackville. He attended Fairmont State College
beginning in 1968 and graduated from West Virginia University in
1978 where he majored in geology and paleontology. Ray spent 2 summers
working on fossil fish quarry digs in Montana and 2 summers as co-leader
of dinosaur digs in Montana, both sponsored by Carnegie Museum of
Natural History in Pittsburgh. Since the early 1970s Ray has
discovered, collected and conducted research at dozens of fossil
sites in West Virginia. He has also worked on a contract basis for
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the U.S. Congressional Research
Service, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service. He founded Mammoth Geophysical in 1982, which
has focused on oil & gas exploration services to hundreds of
companies in 18 states. Ray holds 3 registered trademarks, has published
2 books on West Virginia Speleological related topics, and has written
and published dozens of professional papers and articles. He is
working on 3 new books titled Fossils of West Virginia, Paleozoic
Vertebrates of West Virginia, and Pleistocene Vertebrates of West
Virginia. Since 1993, he has been Curator of the Geology Museum
at the West Virginia Geological Survey located at Monte Chateau
near Morgantown. He is also a Research Associate to the Section
of Vertebrate Fossils of Carnegie Museum of Natural History and
is a frequent contributor to the fossil collections of Carnegie
and the Smithsonian. Most of Rays digs and work are assisted
and supported by Mary Ellen, his wife of 30 years, who is a teacher
at North Marion High School.
See Ray's complete resume and
Permission to copy and distribute this biographical sketch of E.
Ray Garton is granted to all interested persons or groups.