Idaho’s Confounding Jurassic History Explained
It’s partly geography. The narrow northern panhandle has limited space. When the federal government was drawing many western states, the maps were often large rectangles. Then someone grew nostalgic over the older eastern style of looking at rivers and mountains and drawing squiggly lines (and arguments continue to this day). Luckily, we didn’t get stuck with the liberal bastion called Missoula! Unfortunately, once the geographers in Washington finished drawing Idaho as a pot-bellied stove, the federal government added insult to injury and snatched two-thirds of our land.
It was a mid-sized reptile of the era. For a modern comparison, think Ford Ranger.
Hundreds of millions of years ago, Idaho was under-water (now it's mainly new home buyers). It limited some later fossil finds.
Some Current Things Look Like Fossils
While some will tell you there are fossilized dinosaur remains in the Senate chamber at the state Capitol, those objects appear to still have some movement. Even if it’s halting and slow.
Idaho’s biggest dinosaur find happened to be the remains of a Tenontosaurus. It was a mid-sized reptile of the era. For a modern comparison, think Ford Ranger. The fossil wandered into Idaho from what is currently modern-day Wyoming. Which started a trend as even today, many people are pining to get the heck out of that place.
One of These Things is not Like the Others
We’re so desperate to find more dinosaurs that one website I looked at listed the Hagerman Horse. What’s next, the Pocatello Pig? While the horse, which was really more of a zebra, was a great find, it’s not a dinosaur.
When I was in junior high school, my brother and I were using a walkie-talkie set, and the little boy next door was thrilled. The next day, he showed up with a rectangular piece of Styrofoam with a stick poking through one end (no surprise, his challenged family was Canadian). I cite his actions when it comes to claiming the horse as a dinosaur. One of these things is not like the other.
Cheer up! In a few million years, the fossils in the Senate will astound archaeologists. Even though they inspire no awe today.
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