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 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.


E. Ray Garton

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 1970’s 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 Ray’s 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 publications list.

Permission to copy and distribute this biographical sketch of E. Ray Garton is granted to all interested persons or groups.

Copyright 2005 by Prehistoric West Virginia. All rights reserved.
Web development by David A. Board. Hosting courtesy Ray Garton and