Fossil Butte
This view is of Fossil Butte in Fossil Butte National Monument in southwestern Wyoming. This monument was established in 1972 to preserve one of the richest fossil localities in the world. The park encompasses a rolling landscape on eroding sedimentary rocks that formed about 50 million years ago during the Eocene Epoch. The sedimentary section exposed in the park preserves deposits that accumulated in a lakebed and floodplain environments. Fossils preserved, including fish, alligators, bats, turtles, dog-sized horses, insects, and many other species of plants and animals suggest that the region was a low, subtropical, freshwater basin when the sediments accumulated over about a 2 million-year period. The sedimentary section (with its fossils) provides abundant information about the ancient biological communities and climatic changes this period of Earth history (McGrew and Casilliano, 1975, NPS, 2006; NPS, 2009).
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