A Praire Pompei.
December 18, 2006 6:43 PM   Subscribe

"Hundreds of skeletons of prehistoric animals have been found in a volcanic ash bed buried beneath the rolling farmlands of northeastern Nebraska. Some of the best-preserved fossil rhinos, horses, camels, and birds known anywhere have been, and are being, excavated by museum crews working in the Ashfall Fossil Beds in northern Antelope County." [*]Guide from the Nebraska Game and Parks with a quick video tour [*]More information from Nebraska's NET page [*]Wikipedia Link [*] Photos from a Field Trip of Geologists
posted by j-urb (19 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In case you missed it: The Ashfall Fossil Bed Homepage
posted by j-urb at 6:47 PM on December 18, 2006

Wow, awesome!
posted by BeerFilter at 6:47 PM on December 18, 2006

Also: Interactive Map of Fossils in the Bed
posted by j-urb at 6:52 PM on December 18, 2006

And to think they're only 6,000 years old!

Well, in Nebraska, anyway.

(cool post, btw)
posted by briank at 6:57 PM on December 18, 2006

Very cool. I'll have to make a point to check this out next time I'm in Nebra ... oh nevermind.
posted by itchylick at 7:09 PM on December 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

Anyone know of a list/map of places where fossil hunting is still legal? It's something I've always wanted to do.
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:40 PM on December 18, 2006

Do it. Do it in a car. Drive out there on those scary straight-line roads. With the sun going down. And you're almost out of gas. And you stop in that one town, bleary eyed and velocitized, but everything is inexplicably closed. So you get back on the highway, chance it on making the next exit. Later on they tell you there ain't no such town. Now get your gas and get on outta here Yankee. You can still make Laramie tonight.
posted by Area Control at 7:51 PM on December 18, 2006

Nice post, I love stuff like this. (Briank, it took me awhile, but I did finally arrive at the punchline.)
posted by maxwelton at 8:00 PM on December 18, 2006

the skeletons of these animals are preserved in their death positions, complete with evidence of their last meals in their mouths

Amazing. Thanks for this. (Oh, and you should consider adding tags to this great post so folks will find it more easily later on.)
posted by mediareport at 8:34 PM on December 18, 2006

This is awesome. Saber toothed deer?
posted by boo_radley at 9:12 PM on December 18, 2006

And to think they're only 6,000 years old!

The remains of demons thrown up from the bowls of hell sent here to test mans faith in the divine word. Do not be tempted by the devil.
posted by stbalbach at 9:23 PM on December 18, 2006

And to think they're only 6,000 years old!

As a Nebraskan, just have to throw out that Nebraska != Kansas. The state may vote Republican religiously, but we generally aren't bat shit insane like our southern neighbor... ;)

And thanks for digging this up j-urb. I read about Ash Fall many moons ago, but never have made the short trip up there. Will definitely have to do so!
posted by Doktor at 9:51 PM on December 18, 2006

You can thank the Yellowstone Supervolcano for this. Consider it a preview of what our decendants will find of us, when it blows the next time.
posted by spock at 10:02 PM on December 18, 2006

Whoa, cool. Thank you for posting!
posted by headspace at 5:33 AM on December 19, 2006

Saber toothed deer?
They still exist.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:23 AM on December 19, 2006

Saber toothed deer?

Thank god I have a Bone-crushing Dog to protect me.

And WTF? We had rhinos in North America? We should totally get more of those.
posted by quin at 9:30 AM on December 19, 2006

And WTF? We had rhinos in North America? We should totally get more of those.

They make fun pets.
posted by homunculus at 9:50 AM on December 19, 2006

Camels actually originated out of North America believe it or not.
posted by j-urb at 11:36 AM on December 19, 2006

Ashfall is surrounded by land that my grandparents, parents, uncles, and brothers farm, so it's more that a little surreal to read that people think this is interesting. I've always put it in the same camp as local attraction Reuben the Chimp at Zoo Nebraska in Royal, NE (pop 55).

"Zoo Nebraska is an unaccredited roadside zoo in Royal, Nebraska, that displayed four chimpanzees. On Saturday, September 10, 2005, zoo workers failed to properly lock the chimpanzees' cage after cleaning, and all four made a break for freedom. Reuben, Jimmy Joe, and Tyler were ultimately shot and killed. Zoo Nebraska quickly transferred Ripley, the surviving chimpanzee, to an exotic animal dealer's facility in Missouri. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating the incident.

This heartbreaking situation is a classic example of how captive chimpanzees in the zoo and entertainment industry are shuffled from one bad situation to another. After outliving their usefulness for movies, TV, and accredited zoos, these four chimpanzees ended up in a barren cage at a shoddy roadside zoo."
posted by brozek at 6:30 PM on December 19, 2006

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