Tennessee riffleshell causes a stir in Ohio

Assistant Resource Manager

A Tennessee riffleshell mussel was found by Resource Management staff during a search of ancient layers exposed by the recent washout at Great Southern Metro Park. Photo Olivia Piper

Metro Parks Resource Management staff recently made a really exciting discovery, with the help of some local scientists. The Great Southern park land, south of Columbus, is the site of Scioto river floodplain and former and current quarry operations. After a recent rainfall, a washout occurred that exposed layers of earth that dated back to possibly 26,000 years ago! The washout occurred partly on park property and out of curiosity, the Resource Management team explored the newly exposed rocks and fossils. And WOW…!

Many species of mussels were found, but one was particularly fascinating, and led our aquatic ecologist Andrew Boose to seek out some additional mussel experts. Two field trips were held, many finds were cataloged and collected, and the consensus was that a new species of mussel had been found for the Scioto River and for central Ohio!

The mussel is called the Tennessee riffleshell. Additional academic review is underway with the potential for a scientific paper to be published. The area of excavation is very unstable, so we advise people not to visit the site at this time.

Metro Parks’ Resource Management staff search the layers of land exposed by the wash out at Great Southern Metro Park. Photo Carrie Morrow


As well as the Tennessee riffleshell, many ancient shells and fossils were found by Resource Management staff on their first surveys of the geological layers exposed by the wash out at Great Southern Metro Park. Photos Carrie Morrow

3 thoughts on “Tennessee riffleshell causes a stir in Ohio

  1. Thank you for sharing this spectacular find! Continued good luck! Chuck and Mary Ann

  2. This is so cool! I would love to be able to explore the layers for great fossils ! What a find!

  3. Wow! I’d love to see these items on display some day at the park. Best of luck with your research!

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