Silver Tailings: A Big Fishes Tale

Asked once if I were to write a history of the Silver State, where would I begin? My answer:  Berlin, Nevada.

That’s because long before it was a mining camp – and I mean LONG BEFORE – it was home to a prehistoric creature we know as the Ichthyosaur. In fact the area was acquired by the State of Nevada in 1970 and turned into a state park featuring 40 fossilized remains of the ancient sea monster.

The Ichthyosaur was a giant marine reptile that resembled a dolphin. Ichthyosaurs averaged six and a half to 13 feet in length and could weigh anywhere between 360 pounds to jus’ over a ton.

At Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in Nye County, a 55-foot skeleton remains embedded in the rock and is protected from the elements in a large barn.  In 1977, the Ichthyosaur became the State Fossil State of Nevada, which is some 90 million years after it became extinct.

As for the mining camp of Berlin — in 1911 it also suffered extinction.

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