Really a Fossil

WC has written a couple of times recently about the John Day Fossil Beds but, as a reader pointed out, hasn’t shown his readers any fossils. Partly that’s because the unwashed masses like WC aren’t permitted to see very many fossils in the wild. Partly that’s because paleontology isn’t really one of WC’s interest areas. And partly that’s because the fossils on display at the Thomas Condon Center are incredibly difficult to photograph.[1]

But since the national monument is for fossils, if you will be tolerant of WC’s less-than-perfect photographs, here’s a sampling of what’s on display, with two “wild fossils” for a bonus.

Fossil Bird Egg, species unknown (you knew there would be a bird), 15 mya

Early Gomptothere, a primitive elephant, 16 mya

Nimravid, sometimes Short-faced Sabertooth Cat, 34 MYA

Nimravid, sometimes called a Short-faced Sabertooth Cat, 34 MYA

Large Daphoenine skull, a "bear dog" skull, about 18 mya

Large Daphoenine skull, a “bear dog” skull, about 18 mya

Primitive Catfish, Hypsidosis, 44 mya

Primitive Catfish, Hypsidosis, 44 mya

Finally, while the walking trails at John Day are carefully laid out to keep visitors away from active fossil beds, there are fossil pretty much every where you look. They just aren’t very glamourous.

Fossilized Logs, Clarno Formation

Fossilized Logs, Clarno Formation

Fossilized Twig, Mascal Formation

Fossilized Twig, Mascal Formation

The logs form a “T” in the center of the photo. This is in a fossilized lahar, a volcano mud flow. Note the very modern Cliff Swallow nests in the lower right hand corner. You knew there would be birds.

This is primarily a research facility, not a display center. There are some hundred thousand fossils in the vaults. There are perhaps 50 or so on display. But they do give you television monitors to watch researchers clean fossils.


One thought on “Really a Fossil

  1. I don’t know if you have ever been to Dinosaur National Monument but it and the areas within the monument are fascinating. Just don’t go in July, it is too hot then.

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