Badlands National Park

952 Words 4 Pages
The White River Badlands, located in South Dakota, are a national park known for its heavily eroded land and a harsh train that has been developing for millions of years. This has led the land to develop greatly over time, along with encapsulating different species that lived in the land over the years. These species, over time, have been engraved in the stone, leading it contain and immense amount of paleontological aspects. Because of this, Badlands national park has been considered the birthplace of vertebrate paleontology. (nature.nps.gov) Paleontology, which is the study of ancient life, focuses on, but is not exclusively to, the study of fossils. (US parks) Despite this, fossils are the primary sources that scientists use to analyze …show more content…
The Lakota tribe, who has resided in this area, found large fossilized bones and seashells, along with turtle shells. They introduced the idea that the area had once been under water, and that the bones they were discovering belonged to creatures that no longer exist. Paleontological interest became popular in this area beginning in the 1840s. Trappers and traders would travel along the edge of what is now Badlands National Park when they were traveling between Fort Pierre and Fort Laramie. Along this journey, they would occasionally collect fossils, starting the act of taking the fossils and examining them. The first published discovery of fossil remains discovered in the White River Badlands was written by Dr. Hiram Prout in 1846. He described the fossil as a maxillary fragment of an extinct species he called Paleotherium, or what is known as the ancestor of the horse. Then in 1851, The fossils collected by Evans ultimately ended up in the hands of Joseph Leidy, and he along with Evans and Owens, published some of these discoveries. (all Stevens 2006) Joseph Leidy then reclassified the Paleotherium remains as a titanothere/bronothere. Dr. Leidy, who previously described Poebrotherium, the early camel, and titanotheres/bronotheres, also described the ubiquitous oreodont fossils. Oreodonts are a strange sheep-sized animal with teeth intended for both …show more content…
In 1993, two visitors from Iowa discovered a large backbone near the Conata Picnic AreaThis discovery became the Conata Picnic Area Paleontological Site and is one of the more significant paleontological finds in recent years at Badlands National Park (Benton 2003) The site is better known as the Big Pig Dig, or, simply, the Pig Dig, named for Archaeotherium, a large pig- like mammal uncovered there. In May 2010, a seven year girl named Kylie found a fossil near the visitor center at Badlands National Park. It turned out to be an exceptionally rare and well-preserved saber tooth cat fossil. A survey of the area led to the discovery of additional fossil material. The area is now known as the Saber

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