Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park

11.8 million years ago a super volcano erupted in what is now Idaho. In what is now northeastern Nebraska a number of different species of now extinct animals were drawn to a waterhole. The windblown ash from the eruption killed and buried hundreds of those animals .

A display in the park visitor center shows the evolution of the hooves of horses from three toes to a single toe over millions of years. As the placard says, Evolution in Action.

The backside of the same display showing the change in the hooves of horses as the land changed from soft swampy terrain requiring three toes to grasslands which meant that one toe was better suited to survival.

The Rhino Barn covers a portion of the 10 foot thick ash bed where the excavations take place.

Interior view of the Rhino Barn. 10.8 million years ago rhinos were one of the many animals that roamed the area.

The barrel bodied one horn rhino is the most common animal found at the site.

This was just too interesting to not include in this post.

Adult male rhino.

Large three toed horse Neohipparion affine.

A summer intern working to uncover new discoveries. This is a truly amazing fossil site and should be a must stop for anyone even remotely interested in fossils and what life on the earth was like millions of years ago. How amazing it is to be able to get a glimpse as to what life was like in the past. We stopped here 16 years ago during our first year of fulltime RVing and it even more impressive today. Life is short, Live it to its fullest.


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