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National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Fossils

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Fossils



  • Ida Thompson (Author)
  • Townsend P. Dickinson (Photographer)


  • Turtleback: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.; 8th Printing edition (October 12, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394524128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394524122
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 4.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds


Book Description

This, the first all-photographic field guide to cover fossils found throughout North America north of Mexico, includes nearly 500 full-color photographs identifying corals, trilobites, shells, teeth, bones, as well as fossil-bearing rocks and outcrop formations. The descriptive text includes information on size, geological period, geographical distribution, and ecology of the animal or plant before it was fossilized. In addition, the book provides lists of Geological Survey offices and major fossil collections, a geological time chart, and a guide to collecting and preserving fossils.

If you only have one fossil book, this should be it!, July 12, 1998

The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American fossils was the first and best book on fossils I ever purchased. The pictures and maps have helped me may times to find locations to dig for fossils. Hundreds of beautiful drawings and complete descriptions help to identify the fossils you find. Highly recommended.  

Great Field Guide… but it cant have everything…., October 9, 2001

It would be impossible, I’m sure, for a field guide to North American Fossils to provide us with every single fossil that can be found on our continent. No doubt the Audobon Society did not have in mind for a user of this guide to be able to identify everything they find, but to at least highlight the more common fossils, and to guide the reader to look for answers to all the rest. For instance, in Nebraska there are at least 3 types of horn coral that can be found near the Omaha region alone, and there is doubtless many more species that can be found. The guide helps you find the most common and to surmise what you have found by those examples.

Furthermore, no book to be placed in the back pocket of us fossil enthusiasts could possibly be made very thin if it included every illustration, and every detailed description of every type of fossil.

If I have one complaint about this book, its that the maps are difficult to read, and could have been simplified a bit more.. and printed clearer. But, that is a small complaint as I am able to get further detailed maps, and descriptions from the State of Nebraska Geological Survey and other sources.

Get this book if you want to seriously hunt for fossils.. and identify them.


I am certainly not an expert in this field, have no formal training. I am simply a rather old man who has been grubbing in the ground and dirt and in the rocks for most of my life and have had a fascination with fossels since a very, very young child. This particular book has brought me a lot of pleasure and added greatly to the enjoyment of my hobby of "grubbing." I realize that no one book can provide all the answers and identify all the fossil remains known (good grief, there are new ones being discovered every day it seems), but this work certainy meets my needs. I have yet to find a fossel that I was unable to identify with it’s use, and at the very least, has given me clues as to where I might go to find the answers I needs. The photographs are great as are the written discriptions. I carry this one with me always when out in the field. Recommend this one highly.