Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument - Nebraska

About an hour north of Scottsbluff, NE is the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. This monument protects the sight of a rare deposit of fossils. This deposit consists of mammals that date to about 19-20 million years ago. It is believed that the large number of animals died of malnutrition at the site of a water hole during an extended drought. The exhibits at the visitor center are minimal as all of the bones taken are held at various museums around the world. There are a few exhibits made from casts.

There is a one mile trail that we walked to see fossilized burrows, call Daemonelix (pronounced dee-mon-ee-licks), of prehistoric animals that are believed to have been much like today's Prairie Dogs. The Daemonelix are spiral, or cork screw, shaped. Settlers called them "Devil's corkscrews".

The visitor center also has a room with a collection of American Indian artifacts that were donated by James Cook. James Cook owned the land that is now the monument. He was friends with the Lakota and Cheyenne tribes of the area and they gave him gifts which he kept and now make up this display.

Daemonelix sign

Daemonelix protected
by case

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