By Stanley Hedeen
Shawnee legend tells of a herd of big bison rampaging in the course of the Ohio Valley, laying waste to all of their direction. to guard the tribe, a deity slew those nice beasts with lightning bolts, ultimately chasing the final monstrous buffalo into exile around the Wabash River, by no means to hassle the Shawnee back. The resource of this legend was once a weird salt lick in present-day northern Kentucky, the place monstrous fossilized skeletons had for hundreds of years lain undisturbed via the Shawnee and different natives of the sector. In 1739, the 1st Europeans encountered this fossil web site, which finally got here to be referred to as substantial Bone Lick. the positioning drew the eye of all who heard of it, together with George Washington, Daniel Boone, Benjamin Franklin, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and particularly Thomas Jefferson. the enormous bones instantly solid many medical and philosophical assumptions of the day into doubt, they usually ultimately gave upward push to the learn of fossils for organic and historic reasons. significant Bone Lick: The Cradle of yankee Paleontology recounts the wealthy historical past of the fossil website that gave the realm the 1st facts of the extinction of numerous mammalian species, together with the yank mastodon. large Bone Lick has performed many jobs: nutrient resource, hallowed floor, salt mine, healthiness spa, and a wealthy trove of archaeological and paleontological wonders. average historian Stanley Hedeen provides a entire narrative of huge Bone Lick from its geological formation ahead, explaining why the location attracted animals, local tribespeople, eu explorers and scientists, and finally American pioneers and presidents. enormous Bone Lick is the historical past of either a spot and a systematic self-discipline: it explores the infancy and youth of paleontology from its humble and infrequently funny beginnings. Hedeen combines parts of historical past, geology, politics, and biology to make titanic Bone Lick a beneficial ancient source in addition to the compelling story of ways a set of fossilized bones captivated a tender nation.
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Shawnee legend tells of a herd of massive bison rampaging in the course of the Ohio Valley, laying waste to all of their direction. to guard the tribe, a deity slew those nice beasts with lightning bolts, eventually chasing the final substantial buffalo into exile around the Wabash River, by no means to bother the Shawnee back.
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Additional info for Big Bone Lick: The Cradle of American Paleontology
Colquohoun’s innovative furnace design was described in detail by Zadok Cramer in 1811: Mr. Colquohoun has been at much labor and expense in ﬁxing his furnaces in a superior stile, particularly in the retention of heat, and saving the fuel. —The kettles rise gradually from the front to the chimney, so as to occasion a sufﬁcient draught of air. 9 Despite the efﬁciency of the furnaces, salt makers at Big Bone Lick could not match the cheaper cost of salt production at many of the more recently developed salt springs in the Ohio Valley.
Longueuil’s army continued downstream to the Mississippi River, joined up with other French militias, and began to move against the Chickasaw in February 1740. The campaign concluded in April, but Longueuil did not accompany his troops back to Canada. Instead, he continued down the Mississippi River to New Orleans and eventually sailed to France from that port at the end of the year. Longueuil carried some of the Big Bone Lick fossils with him across the Atlantic. 2 In 1740, Louisiana militiaman Philippe Mandeville used Lery’s trip log from the Longueuil expedition to draft a rough map of the Ohio River.
During the trip downriver, Croghan’s men deported several Frenchmen who had been trading in Shawnee villages. ” They followed the bison road to the Lick and collected some fossils, including a tusk more than six feet long. They discovered the remains in a bank of the Lick’s creek, where stream erosion had exposed a large number of bones that had been buried ﬁve to six feet underground. All the specimens from the Lick were lost a week later when eighty Kickapoo and Mascoutin Indians attacked Croghan’s party near the mouth of the Wabash River, at the edge of Illinois country.