Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
Highway 30, Hagerman, Idaho: just off the Scenic Thousand Springs Byway. "Fossil bones of zebras, beaver, otter, pelicans, and other water fowl, are found in sediments left from a 3,400,000 year old pond on the bluff across the river. Lava flows, pouring out over the plains on the side of the river where Hwy 30 runs, met and dammed up sedimentary deposits washed up on the other side, making lakes and swamps. Here the river divides these two important geological settings, formed at a time when the climate was wetter, and the plains were tree-dotted grasslands, where zebra-like horses grazed." All along the Snake River, fossils can be found, but some of the most notable fossils were found near Hagerman, giving birth to the National Monument. When Elmer Cook, a cattle rancher in Hagerman, Idaho, discovered some fossilized bones on his land - in 1928, he showed them to Dr. H.T. Stearns of the USGS who passed them on to Dr. Gidley at the Smithsonian Institution - identifying them as belonging to an extinct horse. They excavated the area and found three tons of speciments. The most valuable of the fossils found, was the large volume of this extinct Horse, known as Equus simplicidens, a.k.a. "The Hagerman Horse". Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. Visited 10/01/06.