And in eastern Nebraska, about 400 miles to the east along John McPhee's famed I-80 (more or less--both parks are actually closer to state route 20):
The "USA Map According to Geologists" at the tail end of last week's blog is the inspiration for this look at fossils in far western and far eastern Nebraska (part of the area labelled "NOTHING TO SEE HERE.")
Western Nebraska is home to Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, a fossil-rich area of Miocene age (23-5 million years ago).
Three particular mammals are found in the main bone beds near Harrison, NB:
(1) Menoceras, a small rhinoceros; (2) the large Moropus, an extinct horse relative ; and the (3) Dinohyus, an extinct giant, pig-like mammal.
Another quarry site to the east (see map above) of the main bone beds is comprised almost entirely of the small gazelle-camel, the Stenomylus, and the burrowing dry-land beaver, the Palaeocastor. The final, rarer animal is the predator Daphoenodon from the extinct beardog family. The bear dog is neither (shades of honey bear-ness?).
In Eastern Nebraska the Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park preserves an in situ fossil site with well preserved mammals, especially horses and rhinoceroses, reptiles, and birds.
Having driven both I-80 and State Highway 20, I highly recommend the latter for "SOMETHING TO SEE HERE."
Have you visited either site? I am most curious about those bear dogs. How about you?
Curiouser and curiouser,
This week's post is for my daughter, Zoë, who turns 22 tomorrow (in Ethiopia where she has already reached her Catch-22 birthday).