This is not one of Michele’s snaps from Finland, but rather a picture of Fossil Butte National Park in Wyoming. Fifty million years ago, this area looked VERY different. It was a lot warmer, and there was a lake. We know this because this particular lake has left behind some extremely well conserved fossils.
When railroad workers in the 19th century visited the area, they noticed so many fossils that they named the nearby settlement “Fossil”.
The fossils from this region are so well conserved because the ancient lake was rich in calcium carbonate. Layers of calcium carbonate would settle on newly dead animals that had sunk to the bottom of the lake, and over the years this created well-preserved fossils set in limestone.
The species found in the limestone are familiar – similar to many creatures alive today – but unexpected for Wyoming. There are crocodiles and palm trees, for example. It suggests that back then, the climate in Wyoming would have been more like that of Florida today.
To see the fossils from Fossil Lake, you can visit Fossil Butte National Park in Wyoming, or see a large collection of the fossils at the Field Museum in Chicago.
Crocodile and palm tree photos are both CC-BY-SA (according to Field Museum usage terms) taken by Eva Amsen. Other photos are public domain, via National Park Service.
It also means that you have one week left to pledge your support in the confidence that any pledge is actually a pre-order. You can get a print copy for only $15. My fellow parents know that $15 is actually a pretty good deal for an illustrated book that about which you are enthusiastic – and, if you are not enthusiastic about reading, art, and prehistoric animals, I really don’t know what you are doing here.
Mammoth is Mopeybrings together a love of language with a love of prehistoric critters. The restrictions imposed by the classic “alphabet book” also provide a rich opportunity for the artist/author to take us on a creative journey. In our house, we collect artistic ABC books, not only as aids to draw our children into developing their language and reading skills, but also for their pure aesthetic beauty.
*While I am on the record with my belief that I could win a fight with a single Velociraptor, I have no doubt that I would lose against a Deinonychus and die slowly as it perched upon my mangled body leisurely consuming my innards.