Category Archives: U.S.A

The Pioneer cabin tree older than 1,000 years has fallen after a violent storm that hit California

The Pioneer cabin tree older than 1,000 years has fallen after a violent storm that hit California

After getting the news, it feels like the end of an age, the iconic Sequoia ‘ Tunnel Tree ‘ has gone down in history as a violent storm that struck California brought it to the Ground.

The Tunnel Tree was part of the Calaveras Big Trees State and was counted among the most famous trees across the United States. For over a century, it enchanted the hearts of the park’s visitors.

It is estimated that the gigantic tree was older than 1,000 years and measured 10 meters in diameter.

A California state park ranger

“The Pioneer Cabin Tree has fallen! This iconic and still living tree – the tunnel tree – enchanted many visitors.

The storm was just too much for it,” reads a status update at The Calaveras Big Trees Association’s page on Facebook. The Sequoia tree was grandeur, which allowed it to claim such an iconic status.

Reports suggest that in the past couple of years, the tree was barely alive, having only one branch alive at the top.

The storm which is considered to be the strongest one to hit the area in over a decade had apparently been too much for the tree. Flooding and the shallow root system of the gigantic tree are most likely to be the reasons for why the tree fell.

The Pioneer Cabin Tree

The Tunnel Tree had been among the most popular sites of the state park ever since the late 19th century.

Also known as the Pioneer Cabin Tree, it got its name for its distinctive hollow trunk, partially burnt after a forest fire. It had small compartments much like in a log cabin, burnt core as a chimney, and a small opening as a backdoor.

During the 1870s, its compartments were fused into a tunnel so that tourists could pass through it.

This particular tree was selected as it already had large forest fire scars. However, this enabled the tree to compete for attention with the Yosemite’s Wawona Tree and to attract more tourists to the park.

A stereoscope image of the Pioneer Cabin with people and horse passing through it (c. 1867–1899)

Since the 1880s, park visitors were encouraged to inscribe their names into the tree, but the practice was stopped during the 1930s in order to preserve it.

The trail through the tree was initially for pedestrians only. Later on, automobiles could also drive through as part of the “Big Trees Trail.”

It was one of the few “drive-through” trees within the area of California. The trail was kept open to hikers only afterwards.

A report by the United States Forest Service, as of 1900, suggests that the tree was 85 meters tall. Bearing in mind its glorious past, it really is like the end of an epoch.

This tiny skull has big implications for the largest dinosaurs

Fossil of young long-necked dinosaur found—and nicknamed Andrew

In what is now Montana, some 150 million years ago, a young dinosaur roamed through a land before (modern) time. Not yet five years old, the long-necked creature somehow ended up buried in a violent, muddy flood, forever freezing it in adolescence.

The fossil skull of the young diplodocus (CMC VP14128), nicknamed “Andrew” and held by palaeontologist D. Cary Woodruff. (John P. Wilson)

Now, researchers have freed this potentially record-setting dinosaur from its stony slumber. After uncovering the remains, the scientists published a study in Scientific Reports, in which they argue that the skull is the smallest yet found from a group of long-necked dinosaurs called diplodocids.

The little fellow even has a nickname: Andrew, after the steel baron and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who funded palaeontology research and has a diplodocid species named after him

With its skull just 10 inches across, researchers’ best guess is that Andrew was a juvenile Diplodocus—an especially rare find. While more than a hundred Diplodocus specimens have been discovered, their skulls are much rarer. Fewer than a dozen have been dug up to date. If the researchers’ reconstruction is correct, Andrew’s skull could be the smallest and least mature Diplodocus skull ever found, potentially providing insights into the dinosaur’s development.

“The smallest Diplodocus skull could tell us a lot about how Diplodocus grew up,” says palaeontologist D. Cary Woodruff, a PhD student at the University of Toronto and the study’s lead author.

‘Free rein at the salad bar’

Andrew hails from Montana’s Mother’s Day Quarry, a bone bed that contains at least sixteen juvenile dinosaurs, their bones are strewn about like a game of pick-up-sticks.

The remains are buried in pebble-flecked mud, suggesting that a flood may have overwhelmed a herd of young diplodocids. Due to the angles at which the bones were stuck in the muck, researchers think that other dinosaurs later trampled the bodies.

Andrew emerged from these rocks in 2010 during an excavation led by study coauthor and Cincinnati Museum Center palaeontologist Glenn Storrs. Storrs then reached out to Woodruff to give the fossil a closer look.

To Woodruff, the skull seemed to belong to a Diplodocus, though its features differed greatly from those of mature individuals. For one, Andrew had 13 teeth in its lower jaw, some of which had spoon-like edges to slice through rough vegetation. In contrast, only 11 peg-like teeth, good for nabbing softer vegetation, occupied the lower jaws of Diplodocus adults. Second, Andrew’s snout was narrow like a deer’s, whereas Diplodocus adults had broader snouts, more like a cow’s.

Woodruff thinks these differences tell the story of a shifting diet as the dinosaurs matured, echoing a 2010 study of a different Diplodocus juvenile skull.

Adult Diplodocus were lawnmowers, gobbling ferns and other soft plants in bulk. But young Diplodocus may have been more selective eaters, using their dental variation to nibble on the choicest parts of many different kinds of plants.

“Because they’ve got these different tooth types, it’s kind of like of a Swiss army knife in their mouth, right? They can pick and eat every plant they want to,” says Woodruff. “[They had] free rein at the salad bar.”

A puzzle with missing pieces

Kristi Curry Rogers, a palaeontologist at Macalester College in Minnesota, welcomes the new paper, but she doesn’t fully agree with its findings because of the fossil’s poor preservation. Andrew’s skull is missing parts of the cheek, palate, and lower jaw, plus the fossils are slightly squished. These hiccups make it hard to reconstruct the skull, let alone infer the dinosaur’s behaviour from it.

Mom's Phone Call Helps Uncover Oldest Long-Necked Dinosaur on Record
An illustration of the young diplodocus “Andrew” in its environment. (Andrey Atuchin) (Andrey Atuchin./Andrey Atuchin)

“The authors don’t address the deformation of the skull or the missing components of the face in any great detail, the inclusion of which could easily, and dramatically, change the interpretations,” she said in an email.

The uncertainty also muddies Andrew’s status as a member of the Diplodocus genus. When researchers tried to calculate Andrew’s place on the diplodocid family tree, its position depended on which of the dinosaur’s traits the researchers looked at.

“This is actually the part of the paper that I found the most interesting and important,” said palaeontologist Kimberley Chapelle, a PhD student at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, in an email. The confusion may simply stem from growing pains; young and old Diplodocus could have looked very different, leading to challenges in categorization.

For now, Woodruff says that Diplodocus is his best guess for Andrew’s identity, but he says that it could also be an unknown species. To help settle the debate, Andrew’s skull is currently being 3-D scanned for future research.

“[At] the end of the day, that’s science: one object, two interpretations, multiple testable hypotheses,” said Woodruff in an email. “And if we’re later proven wrong about the identity, that’s fine. Andrew still contributes to our understanding … regardless of whatever the heck it is.”

Unexpected: Scientists Find the Fossil of a 91-Million-Year-Old Shark in Kansas

Unexpected: Scientists Find the Fossil of a 91-Million-Year-Old Shark in Kansas

A 91-million-year-old fossil shark newly named Cretodus houghtonorum discovered in Kansas joins a list of large dinosaur-era animals.

Preserved in sediments deposited in an ancient ocean called the Western Interior Seaway that covered the middle of North America during the Late Cretaceous period (144 million to 66 million years ago), Cretodus houghtonorum was an impressive shark estimated to be nearly 17 feet or slightly more than 5 meters long based on a new study appearing in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

The fossil shark was discovered and excavated in 2010 at a ranch near Tipton, Kansas, in Mitchell County by researchers Kenshu Shimada and Michael Everhart and two central Kansas residents, Fred Smith and Gail Pearson.

Shimada is a professor of paleobiology at DePaul University in Chicago. He and Everhart are both adjunct research associates at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. The species name houghtonorum is in honour of Keith and Deborah Houghton, the landowners who donated the specimen to the museum for science.

Although a largely disarticulated and incomplete skeleton, it represents the best Cretodus specimen discovered in North America, according to Shimada. The discovery consists of 134 teeth, 61 vertebrae, 23 placoid scales and fragments of calcified cartilage, which when analyzed by scientists provided a vast amount of biological information about the extinct shark.

Besides its estimated large body size, anatomical data suggested that it was a rather sluggish shark, belonged to a shark group called Lamniformes that includes modern-day great white and sand tiger sharks as distant cousins, and had a rather distinct tooth pattern for a lamniform shark.

“Much of what we know about extinct sharks is based on isolated teeth, but an associated specimen representing a single shark individual like the one we describe provides a wealth of anatomical information that in turn offers better insights into its ecology,” said Shimada, the lead author on the study.

“As important ecological components in marine ecosystems, understanding about sharks in the past and present is critical to evaluate the roles they have played in their environments and biodiversity through time, and more importantly how they may affect the future marine ecosystem if they become extinct,” he said.

During the excavation, Shimada and Everhart believed they had a specimen of Cretodus crassidens, a species originally described from England and subsequently reported commonly from North America. However, not even a single tooth matched the tooth shape of the original Cretodus crassidens specimen or any other known species of Cretodus, Shimada said.

“That’s when we realized that almost all the teeth from North America previously reported as Cretodus crassidens belong to a different species new to science,” he noted.

The growth model of the shark calibrated from observed vertebral growth rings indicates that the shark could have theoretically reached up to about 22 feet (about 6.8 meters).

“What is more exciting is its inferred large size at birth, almost 4 feet or 1.2 meters in length, suggesting that the cannibalistic behaviour for nurturing embryos commonly observed within the uteri of modern female lamniform must have already evolved by the late Cretaceous period,” Shimada added.

Furthermore, the Cretodus houghtonorum fossil intriguingly co-occurred with isolated teeth of another shark, Squalicorax, as well as with fragments of two fin spines of a yet another shark, a hybodont shark.

“Circumstantially, we think the shark possibly fed on the much smaller hybodont and was in turn scavenged by Squalicorax after its death,” said Everhart.

Discoveries like this would not be possible without the cooperation and generosity of local landowners, and the local knowledge and enthusiasm of amateur fossil collectors, according to the authors.

“We believe that continued cooperation between palaeontologists and those who are most familiar with the land is essential to improving our understanding of the geologic history of Kansas and Earth as a whole,” said Everhart.

The new study, “A new large Late Cretaceous lamniform shark from North America with comments on the taxonomy, paleoecology, and evolution of the genus Cretodus,” will appear in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Possible Slave Quarter Uncovered in Maryland

Possible Slave Quarter Uncovered in Maryland

WTOP News reports that the possible site of a 300-year-old slave quarter has been found near an eighteenth-century brick manor once inhabited by Jesuit missionaries. 

The announcement was made Tuesday by researchers from the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration and St. Mary’s College in Maryland.

According to MDOT SHA, most of the items were discovered close to the brick manor of 18th century once owned by Jesuit missionaries in Newtowne Neck State Park.

The quarters may date back to around 1700.

“The Jesuits were prolific in their record-keeping, but very little survived on the enslaved African Americans who worked the fields and served the Catholic Church,” said Julie Schablitsky, MDOT SHA’s chief archaeologist in a news release.

“If there was ever a place in Maryland that holds the story of diverse cultures converging to find religious freedom in an environment of conflict, sacrifice and survival, it is here.”

MDOT SHA said documents point to the sale of 272 slaves from Maryland in 1838 near the manor.

An artifact found near slave quarters in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.

Descendants of those slaves still live in Maryland.

The Rev. Dante Eubanks, a resident of Leonardtown, has traced his family to the St. Mary’s plantation.

“To be able to stand in the exact place where my ancestors lived and endured is a powerful experience,” Eubanks said. “We need to remember these stories, they are important to our history and healing.”

Maryland archaeologists are using metal detectors to pinpoint the locations of early cabins along Md. Route 243, places where the enslaved left evidence of their lives in broken clay tobacco pipes, ceramic cups and rusty nails.

“MDOT SHA’s participation in this archaeological dig is a unique way to experience history firsthand,” SHA Administrator Tim Smith said in a release.

“I’m proud of the work this team of archaeologists is doing to preserve the history of early Marylanders.”

MDOT SHA said the artefacts need to be analyzed to learn more.

Lost continent is hidden in plain sight

Lost continent is hidden in plain sight

The Kaibab Plateau located in central Northern Arizona showcases a mysterious majestic city epic in size and proportion. While this city is officially referred to as a series of natural “Grand Canyon Monuments”, they are in fact precisely arranged pyramids towers and temples aligned to both the star and nebula pattern of ORION “The Hunter” and Pleiades constellations.

This appears to be a great city of a “lost” continent hidden in plain sight. There is neither folklore nor definition of it, although, Egyptian and Asian artifacts have been found.

Some of which swiped under the guidance of the Smithsonian Institute. If giant Nephilim skeletons were recovered, only the inner circles of the secret societies would know. The city is veiled in secrecy using deceptive language and tactics as a device for keeping the general population from understanding what the “Monuments of the Grand Canyon” truly are.

The topographical map of the National Park shows the high elevations of the monuments named after Egyptian and Asian Gods, etc.

A water sculpted canyon. Now that’s a ‘wonder’

The Monuments embedded within this great chasm is now confirmed to be a set of pyramids and structures defining a city of such enormous expanse that it very well could have been the metropolis of a lost continent populated with an antediluvian civilization. The antediluvian period begins with the Creation according to Genesis and ends with the destruction of all life on the earth except those saved with Noah in the Ark, and possibly disguised by the knowledge of the secret societies.

This city is a remnant of an ancient continent. It remains a mystery, however, the notion that it may even be infamous and highly sought after the lost continent of Atlantis is certainly plausible, it most likely is a companion pyramid array not unlike what would be found at the 19th leyline node, Atlantis, or the first node where the great pyramid Khufu stands exactly in the centre of the earth plane.

The hypothetical “Lost land” known as Lemuria might be considered by some, however, the legend and theories regarding Lemuria are more rooted in fictional hearsay than would lend more research for revival here with the identifying location as a reasonable manner the city within the canyon. The opposite may be true as further research takes place in which more may be revealed.

West Java, Indonesia perhaps

In the case of the sunken continent of Atlantis, it has always been thought of as an entire parcel of land surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The world-renowned cosmic channel, Edgar Cayce, verifies this although sceptics and others have postulated otherwise.

One professor, the late professor Arysio Nunes dos Santos, suggests Atlantis is in the location of the newly discovered pyramids found on West Java, Indonesia. Other volumes of published materials produce mostly conjecture, however, without an honest look at real evidence. They are valiant efforts.

The likely truth is that a world flood did occur covering much of the topography of the land and seas in which when had mostly receded, Atlantis remained submerged and not sunken at all.  Or, the waters that were added to the downpour of the waters from above creating the destructive force killing all life and devastating all constructs on the surface created a ‘sinkhole’ effect in which the mythical place we call Atlantis did actually sink.

There is a proof now that pyramids do exist in the Southwest United States. They do reside under an ancient seabed which establishes that they are all coordinated and line up precisely with the major stars and nebulae of the constellation Orion “The Hunter”. The same has been established with the great pyramids of Giza in Egypt. The difference is that all of the stars and nebulae of Orion match with the canyon Monuments with clarity.

The Grand Canyon with all its pristine beauty is neither naturally formed or organic in nature. This unique area at the Kaibab Plateau is indeed a widespread chasm that could not have possibly been carved out by a tumultuous river which is narrow by comparison. A simple observation of the angularity about the Monuments shows that they are devoid of sweeping curves on the stones. This logically demonstrates that water did not spend enough time sculpting smooth forms.

Is the historic record genuine?

If geologists, archaeologists, scientists of all areas agree that the mighty Colorado River in it’s strange but rather small in scale and configuration could form this canyon, then perhaps our geological historians are accurate. I agree that a river or series of them did cut vast areas of earth from the South to North rim and then on over to Nevada and down. I’ll buy the argument that simply because these are ancient structures built of hardened earth and that the soft was swept away over millions of years and so on has to be that simply because I’m showing proof these are aligned to stars.

I would have to also think that if we washed away all of the soft earth over the entire continent that we’d find the whole of our astrological system in the form of intelligently crafted pointed buildings. After all, what else other than a globe besieged by water could bury so many archaeological finds throughout the world? I do not believe that over time earthly renovations due to tropical storms, even hurricanes, tsunamis, and volcanic activity could have buried modern in ancient times cities.

There is evidence that mighty pointed formations are found in other canyons. And, they are also stepped and blocked. Blocks are angled at 90 degrees and these angles are seen in the Grand Canyon almost every yard of the way. This means that rivers did etch away doing its beautiful carving of the Great Deluge sediment from the original engineering constructs.

If this is absurd, then there’s room to suggest that there may have been an alien intentioned agenda at large. Perhaps there were massive ore harvesting projects aimed at stealing enormous caches of treasure, in particular, GOLD. A mining project as large as Massachusetts perhaps.

An Alien archaeological dig

Lost continent is hidden in plain sight

If the historical record is wrong that a river the width of the Colorado River could have snaked its way completely and everywhere around these monumental features, then there must be an explanation as to how this massive ditch be created. The river could have been wider or several as opposed to the single one we know today, however, if there is an explanation, it would have to be alien inspired.

This great gorge may actually be an ancient geoforming project on the largest of scales known on planet Earth. The intent, obviously Alien, was to remove the softer ancient seabed sediment and earth that had engulfed the city. This occurred most likely during the flooding of the planet as told in Biblical terms regarding Noah and the story of the Ark.

This city then became an unearthed treasure trove find by off-world interests. Perhaps those who competed, or even battled against the Anunnaki of Nibiru (Planet X). Their goal perhaps for conquest over the megalithic cache of gold – primarily – that to a person living today be incomprehensibly vast. For you see, the Monuments of the Grand Canyon may have been completely covered – layered – in gold. The temples were filled as well as ordained with silver, gold and platinum. Aluminium was also a valuable metal. This city could very well have had the appearance of a scaled-up, way up, version of the most ornate crown of jewellery.

Why was this alien archaeological dig conducted?

A scene In the 2011 film Cowboys and Aliens in which an alien spaceship arrives in Arizona in 1873 to mine for gold, a unique technology was used. The scene to the right depicts unique liquid streaming of gold as it rises as if drippings along a string up from the depth of the canyon into the alien ship.

To plunder and harvest gold of coarse. A project of this size had to have been to liberate the treasure from a whole city the size of, well, the Grand Canyon. Alien ‘Pirates’! Once the city was revealed, some incredible technology had to have been implemented to strip the precious metals from the massive Monuments. Perhaps a complex smelting process was used. The gold then off-loaded to other locations on Earth or off-world. Hollywood, as always, gives us a “tell” in an alien-related film in which an unusual method is shown how an alien intelligence extracts gold from the earth. This is relevant for the reason it is taking place in Arizona, the location of the mining, or excavation, is in a canyon, and that it is being conducted by aliens. Furthermore, a war is taking place all because of gold.

Century-Old Little Girl Found In Coffin Under San Francisco Home Identified

Century-Old Little Girl Found In Coffin Under San Francisco Home Identified

In the 1800s the mysterious girl, whose body was found under a house in San Francisco, her body entombed in a small lead and bronze coffin and her well-preserved hands clutching a single red rose, has been identified.

Garden of Innocence’s nonprofit project says the child — who not only astonished the work Crew who stumbled over the Casket but also city officials who thought the bodies in the 19th century Richmond District cemetery had all been moved — is Edith Howard Cook.

Edith was a month and a half short of her third birthday when she died Oct. 13, 1876, according to researchers working with the Southern California’s Garden of Innocence.

The cause of her death? Probably severe undernourishment caused by an infection, the researchers said.

The team had been working to identify the girl since her body was discovered during a home remodelling project near Lone Mountain.

Construction worker Kevin Boylan told KTVU: ‘All the hair was still there. The nails were there. There were flowers – roses, still on the child’s body. It was a sight to see.’

“It was a light at the end of the tunnel finding out who she is,” said Erica Hernandez, a project spokeswoman

The researchers, who included staff at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis, located records from the old cemetery that was run by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows until about 1902, when the graves were relocated to Colma.

Although the paperwork was “unorganized,” Hernandez said, the team was able to cross-reference plot records with old newspaper obituaries and get an idea of who the young child might be.

Once it concluded that Edith was probably the girl, the team tracked down living relatives for a DNA sample to verify their finding. That confirmation came when a sample from Edith’s hair matched that of Peter Cook, a descendant of her brother, who lives in Marin County.

Edith Howard Cook was the second child and first daughter of Horatio Nelson and Edith Scooffy Cook. Peter Cook is descended from Edith’s older brother, Milton H. Cook.

Edith’s family was believed to be of decent means, having buried the child in a relatively expensive metal casket 37 inches in length, with two viewing windows on the lid.

Her skin and hair, as well as her burial flowers, were well preserved. She was one of about 30,000 people with graves at the old Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Why her remains weren’t transported to Colma around 1920, when the city wanted to make room for the living, remains a mystery.

Skeletons Found Under a Florida Wine Shop May Be Some of America’s First Colonists

Skeletons Found Under a Florida Wine Shop May Be Some of America’s First Colonists

Historians recently announced in Florida that several small children’s bones buried beneath underneath the last place one might think to look: a wine shop.

However, there will be no police inquiry. The Florida wine shop happens to be located in St. Augustine, America’s oldest city. And those bones? They’re just about as old as the city is.

The archaeologists actually believe that these skeletal remains could have been among the first settlers in North America.

In the past few weeks, researchers have found seven people including three children, in the ancient graveyard.

According to the St. Augustine Register, one of them was a young white European woman.

Researchers are still examining the other remains, but a pottery fragment found nearby suggests that these people died sometime between 1572 and 1586.

“What you’re dealing with is people who made St. Augustine what it is,” Carl Halbirt, St. Augustine city archaeologist, tells FirstCoast News. “You’re in total awe. You want to treat everything with respect, and we are.”

Excavations inside the Fiesta Mall (City of St. Augustine)

Archaeologists were able to dig underneath the building thanks to the effects of last year’s Hurricane Matthew, the flooding from which convinced the building’s owner that it was time to replace the wooden floor.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, the building’s floor was constructed in 1888, and the soil beneath the building has remained untouched since then, thus creating a virtual time capsule.

The building also happens to be built where the ancient Church of Nuestra Señora de la Remedios used to stand.

“The mission churches across Florida buried everybody in the church floor,” Ellsbeth Gordon, an architectural historian, told FirstCoast News. “It was consecrated ground, of course.”

According to Smithsonian, Sir Francis Drake burned the church down in 1586, a hurricane destroyed it again in 1599, and the British once again burned it down in 1702.

That last time may have been for good, but until then the church had been the main meeting point for a colony that had been established 55 years before the Pilgrims ever set foot on Plymouth Rock.

While the archaeologists are planning on moving the bones found outside the wine shop to a nearby cemetery, the skeletons found inside will stay right where they have lain for the past 400 years.

Hundreds of Well Preserved Prehistoric Animals have been Found in an Ancient Volcanic Ashbed in Nebraska

Hundreds of Well Preserved Prehistoric Animals have been Found in an Ancient Volcanic Ashbed in Nebraska

The watering holes attracted prehistoric animals among Nebraska’s tall grasslands. From horses to camels and rhinoceroses, with wild dogs looming nearby, animals roamed the savanna-like region.

Then, one day, it all changed. Hundreds of miles away, a volcano in southeast Idaho erupted. Within days, up to two feet of ash covered parts of present-day Nebraska.

Some of the animals died immediately, consumed with ash and other debris. Most of the animals lived for several more days, their lungs ingesting ash as they searched the ground for food. Within a few weeks, northeast Nebraska was barren of animals, except for a few survivors.

Hundreds of Well Preserved Prehistoric Animals have been Found in an Ancient Volcanic Ashbed in Nebraska
An adult (3) rhino fossil lies next to a baby’s fossils. They are among hundreds of skeletons discovered at Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park in Royal, Nebraska.

More than 12 million years later, a fossil was found in Antelope County, near the small town of Royal. The skull of a baby rhino was discovered by a Nebraska palaeontologist and his wife while exploring the area. The fossil was exposed by erosion. Soon after, exploration started in the area.

As more discoveries were made, the site grew into a tourist attraction. Today, people visit Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park to check out hundreds of fossils from 12 species of animals, including five types of horses, three species of camels, as well as a sabre-toothed deer. The infamous sabre-toothed cat remains a dream discovery.

Visitors view fossils inside the Hubbard Rhino Barn, a 17,500-square foot facility that protects the fossils while allowing visitors to roam on a boardwalk. Kiosks provide information on fossils located in specific areas.

One level of the fossil beds discovered at Ashfall Fossil Beds park.

As you tour the barn, if a summer intern or palaeontologist is nearby, they are open to discussing their work, as well as answering questions. During our visit, we learned that an intern had discovered a fossilized dog paw print.

Outside the barn, visitors can read facts about the area, including that mammoths migrated to North America about 1.5 million years ago. A yellow flag in an area a short distance from the main walk to the barn indicates the discovery site of the rhino skull. Red flags showcase spots where additional fossils were discovered.

A yellow flag marks the site of the first skull discovery in 1971. The red flags indicate spots of additional fossil finds.

Visitor activities and views at Ashfall Fossil Beds

In addition to the Hubbard Barn, Ashfall Fossil Beds features a discovery area where children can cipher through the sand searching for their own fossil discoveries. A small barn is used for special exhibits, as well as classes.

Children play in a sandbox “searching” for fossils.

The visitors centre houses some animal remains, as well as palaeontologists working on recent finds. About 60 million years before the area was home to the savanna, Nebraska was part of a tropical sea.

Fossils found in the area include a plesiosaur, a mammal from the Jurassic Period. The fossils displayed were found on the Santee reservation, about an hour away.

Fossils from a plesiosaur were found near Santee, about an hour from the park.c

Sculptures representing animals from the region are located around the state historical park. Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park kicks off its summer hours Memorial Day weekend when it’s open daily through Labor Day. Otherwise, check the website here for hours.

A state park permit ($6 per vehicle for an in-state day permit or free with an annual pass) is required for visiting the park, in addition to the $7 entrance fee.