Ashfalls by Thomas
12 million years ago when a volcano in Idaho erupted ash covered a large area of land. The animals in northeast Nebraska did not die from the ash right away.The animals breathed in the dust and ate the dust covered plants. a That caused them to die in 3 to 5 weeks from the eruption. The smaller animals died first because they had smaller lungs. The bigger animals died last.
In 1971 A University Of Nebraska State Museum Paleontologist, Michael Voorhies was walking with his wife through some gullies on a farm in Northeastern, Nebraska. He was walking to learn about the Verdigre Creek. All of a sudden they saw something peaking out of the wall of the gully. It was a small piece of a white bone with ash all around it. Dr.Voorhies identified it as part of a skull of a baby rhinoceros. Six years later he got a crew together and they begin to dig a 20 meter area where the bone was found.
Dr. Voorhies thinks the animals came to the fossil bed site looking for water and a cool place to rest. Over a few weeks the animals died a slow, painful death of lung failure by breathing in the ash. ALL of the skeletons found had growths on their bones showing they died of lung failure.
If you go to Ashfall you will see the skeletons still laying there where they died. Some of the animal skeletons are joined together in the order of the way they died. The skeletons were left there and not moved to a museum. The rhino barn is built right above the site where the skeletons are located. Some of the large skeletons have been named. Morris-a male rhino with large tusks and big feet; Mcgrew -a female rhino with small tusks and unborn calf; DR.Marie - a small, there -toed hores; Della-a young horse who still had its baby teeth.
Ashfall Fossil Beds have been named a National, natural landmark. It's the only place on Earth where large numbers of animals have been found in whole 3-D preserved, skeletons. Ashfall Fossil Bed is definately an interesting and unique place in Nebraska.