Thursday, May 26, 2016

SHADOWS ON THE TRAIL and the Oligocene




Madd Maxx always ready for an adventure. 
I am sorry it has been so long since my last new blog posting. No excuse, but I have been busy with everything going on in my life. I am volunteering at the fire department and also trying to publish my seventh book, writing my eighth book, and we just got a new puppy. The new puppy may be the most stressful.


Oligocene aged White River Formation in the middle of the frame.
This sandstone was deposited as a meandering river millions of years ago.
However, Madd Maxx and I had a little adventure this week and made it out to my Shadows on the Trail prehistoric campsite this week. You know, the site where I found the prehistoric artifact that was the inspiration for the Shadows on the Trail Trilogy. What? You have not read the Shadows on the Trail Trilogy?  Why not?
Click to Order Shadows on the Trail


Madd Maxx and I did not find many artifacts on our little adventure, but we had a good time, nevertheless. However, we did find some fossils in the White River Formation. You might be asking what is the White River Formation?
Crossbedding in the sandstone rock of the White River Formation.
Crossbeds indicative of meandering or braided stream system.

The White River Formation is the oldest geologic formation on the ground at the Shadows on the Trail prehistoric campsite. Rivers, lakes, and wind laid down the White River Formation in the Oligocene geologic period, sometime between thirty eight million to twenty five million years ago. During the Oligocene period on the High Plains, the climate was drier and cooler than the previous geologic period, the Eocene. Oak, beach, maple, and ash trees replaced subtropical plants. Volcanoes continued to be active laying down volcanic ash across the
The animals of the High Plains Oligocene.
high plains. Rhinoceros, camels, large pig-like titanotheres, sheep-like oreodonts, and tortoises replaced extinct fauna from the previous geologic period. Modern mammal families began appearing with various cats, dogs, weasels, raccoons, beavers, pocket mice, and jumping mice. The forests around rivers and lakes supported three-toed horses (Mesohippus), tapirs, insectivores, and rodents.

As the Oligocene period continued, the first sabre-tooth cats appeared and artiodactyls dominated. Only a single family of primates existed, but it would still be millions of years before humans appeared. As the Oligocene continued to heat up, warmer climate species appeared. Investigators have found the fossils remains of a crocodilian specimen as far north as South Dakota.

Another day, another adventure. See you next time. Hopefully, in the not so distant future!  
Fossil from a mammal of the Oligocene.