|Storm Clouds Looming Over the Wide Open Spaces|
We kept driving, picked up the Oregon Trail once again and crossed into the wide open spaces of southwest Wyoming. One more national park was on our agenda, Fossil Butte National Monument. We’ve visited several national parks where fossils are the focus, including Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument and John Day National Monument. Fossil Butte is my new favorite, at least as far as the fossils are concerned, although John Day still wins out on scenery.
Fossil Butte National Monument preserves an extraordinarily rich and diverse fossil deposit dating back fifty million years. What makes Fossil Butte so special is the fact that the fossils found here are among the world’s most perfectly preserved remains of ancient plant and animal life.
The displays at the visitor center are exceptionally well-presented, and we just couldn’t believe the incredible detail of the fossils on view. Nine-foot palm fronds, countless fish species and softshell turtles were just a few of the fossils that we looked at in amazement. Many fish even retained their entire skeleton, teeth, scales and skin. It seems fitting that Fossil Butte has often been called an Aquarium in Stone. No one knows for sure what events led to the preservation of Fossil Lake’s animals and plants, but many scientists believe that an essential ingredient was burial in calcium carbonate.
|The Fossilized Plant Wall|
|Over 20 Species of Freshwater Fish Have Been Identified|
|An Amazing Amount of Detail Has Been Preserved|
|Even Fossils of Turtles Have Been Found|
|The Beginning of the Journey Through Time|
|The Journey Through Time Continues at the Visitor Center|
|Fossil Butte, for Which the Park Was Named, Can Be Seen Behind the Timeline|
|An Impressive Landscape|