While riding in the late 1800s, James Cook and his fiance found old bones on her father's ranch. Fast forward a few years. James and Kate married. They bought the ranch from her father. James became friends with several early-day paleontologists. Apparently he remembered the bones they'd found and invited them to come look for fossils. They found a lot of them!
By now we've visited a lot of Park Service visitor centers. Some are elaborate, some don't seem to have had much effort put into them, and don't have much more than a room and a ranger. We were surprised at the size, and then even more at the displays.
Some are in glass cases, like this Stenomylus--they say it's related to a camel, but I haven't a clue how they can tell! The other one is a Daemonelix burrow, of which more later.
|Battle of the Hundred Slain Winter Count by American Horse|
|Battle of Greasy Grass (Little Big Horn)|
|Contemporary Winter County by Dawn Little Sky|
We went outside and had lunch by the tipis, watching the drama of the gathering clouds.
I did promise you more on the Daemonelix, so pay attention. The scientists were in conflict about the "Devil's corkscrew" fossils they found. One geologist thought they were fossilized remnants of enormous taproots of some plant that used to grow here. Then a paleontologist found a rodent fossil inside one, and theorized they were spiral burrows dug by prehistoric beavers. I wanted to see them so we headed for the Daemonelix Trail. There were lots of wildflowers...
But there's another place where the Devil's corkscrew is right at the base of the hill. They protected it by enclosing it in a case, and refer to it as the "Phone Booth". You can see how big it is with George standing next to it.