Bonus Content

Fossil Beds National Monument
Eastern Oregon

You have to get lost to find this place. If you're in desert Oregon and you go through a town called Fossil, you're there. A few miles farther: John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, home to a world-class collection of fossilized remains. The creatures on display here lived in the area 45 to 5 million years ago.

The John Day River flows through a valley surrounded by rock formations filled with the most extensive concentration of vertebrate fossils known on earth. 

Each layer of color indicates a time period during which sediments containing different minerals were deposited on the surface. 

This creature, named Agriocoerus, roamed the area some 18 million years ago. Despite the looks of those lower front teeth, the animal fed on roots and tubers. 

Most of the fossils on display at the National Monument Interpretive Center were excavated between 1860 and 1900. Paleontologists from Yale, Princeton and the Smithsonian Institution took part in the discoveries. 

Creodont was a meat-eater the size of a bear. It lived here some 20 million years ago. To learn more, search the Internet for "John Day Fossil Beds National Monument."

Photos by Rick Marsi
All rights reserved. August, 2017.