WYOMING'S PRE-HISTORIC RACES
|Recent Archaeological Discoveries—Scientific Explorations—Ancient Arboriginal Quarries—The So-Called "Spanish Diggins"—Ancient System of Mining—Description of Stone Implements—Shop and Village Sites—Later Quarries Found—Should be a National Park—Theories of the Antiquity of the Specimens—Cave Dwellings—The Medicine Wheels of the Big Horn Mountains—Discoveries in Bridger Basin—Story of the Pre-Historic Animals and the Great Fossil Fields of Wyoming ... 31|
|The story of Wyoming's earliest inhabitants is enveloped in a haze of mystery and obscurity, but recent explorations have developed the fact that this state has the most ancient remains of vanished races to be found on this continent. In the pre-historic mines of this state there is embedded the hidden chronicles of extinct races—the story of the stone age and the cave man, of the buried, untold history of the primitive, rude and savage life of the childhood of the world.|
Dr. Harlem I. Smith, a noted archaeologist, after his explorations in this state, described the plains and foot hills of Wyoming as "Darkest Archaeological America." Mr. C. H. Robinson, one of the most recent explorers of the Aboriginal Quarries north of Hartville, says the region he investigated is, "An Archaeological Wonderland."
The oldest students of Ethnology have been so mystified and puzzled by the unique, remarkable and extensive stone quarries and village sites found in this state that they hesitate to give any opinions as to the period of their settlement and active operation. Dr. George A. Dorsey says, "There are here many problems unsolved but well worthy of solution." All evidences point to their existence before the period of the mound builders or the cliff dwellers.
In addition to the remains of the stone workers there have been recently discovered in Wyoming the medicine wheels and cave dwellings, the latter being found in the vicinity of the quarries. The medicine wheels are found on the tops of mountains of the Big Horn range.
|ANCIENT ABORIGINAL QUARRIES|
|The editor of this volume was the first to give to the world an account of the ancient aboriginal quarries discovered about thirty miles north of Hartville, where he was then engaged in mining operations. This was in 1892, and after a visit to the locality he wrote to the San Francisco Examiner and St. Louis Republic a description of his trip and what he saw. Up to this time the working had been known to cowboys as "The Spanish Diggins."|
In 1899 he made a second visit to the quarries accompanied by his son, Sydney E. Bartlett and Judge Sydney E. Eastman of Chicago. Judge Eastman took the specimens of stone work he collected to Chicago and submitted them to Dr. George A. Dorsey, Curator of the Department of Anthropology of the Field Columbian Museum. Dr. George A. Dorsey was so much interested in the find, he wrote requesting me to arrange an expedition for him to the locality and I arranged with Mr. William Lauk and W. L. Stein of Whalen Canyon (near Guernsey), two experienced miners and prospectors who knew the country thoroughly, to supply the teams and equipment and accompany the party as guides.
This was the first scientific expedition to the quarries and shop sites. Doctor Dorsey's report of this investigation appears in the Anthropological series of the Columbian Museum of December, 1900, with photographic illustrations showing the pits, quartzite workings, excavations and about fifty examples of stone implements.
Since that time many explorations have been made by archaeologists representing various museums, colleges and scientific societies of this country and Canada.
| Among other expeditions to these fields may be mentioned the following:|
Dr. Harlem I. .Smith of the Canadian Geological Survey–two trips–one in 1910 and one in 1914. These resulted in his issuing a publication entitled, "An Unknown Field in American Archaeology" and another work on "Cave Explorations in Eastern Wyoming."
Amherst College sent two expeditions under Professor Loomis in 1907 and 1908. These were research expeditions of students on vacation.
Dr. Erwin H. Barbour, at the head of the Department of Geology of the University of Nebraska, visited the locality in 1905.
Dr. M. H. Everett of Lincoln, Nebraska, accompanied Dr. Barbour on this trip and became so interested he made two more trips.
Professor Richard Lull of the Yale College Department of Geology made an investigation of the field in 1903.
R. F. Gilder, of the Omaha World-Herald, has been a most enthusiastic investigator of Wyoining's ancient remains, and has made many visits to the aboriginal quarries since 1905, and has written interesting reports of same in the "Records of the Past" magazine appearing in the issues of August, 1908, and February. 1909. Probably Mr. Gilder has spent more time in exploring these workings than any other person.
C. H. Robinson, of Bloomington, 111., an earnest student of Ethnology, representing the Illinois State Museum and the McLean County Historical Society, visited the field in August, 1915, and has written a valuable bulletin descriptive of his experiences and discoveries.
In 1915 the Smithsonian Institution sent a party of scientists to investigate the field with a view of establishing a National Park. This expedition was undertaken upon representations made by the writer and United States Senator Ken-drick, who was then governor of Wyoming. Its report was favorable and will be more fully explained in this chapter. In addition to these expeditions in the interests of science, hundreds of tourists, curiosity seekers and hunters have made trips to the region and have carried away thousands of stone implements of varied character, comprising war, hunting, domestic and agricultural tools.
|THE SO-CALLED "SPANISH DIGGINS"|
| The names "Mexican Mines" and "Spanish Diggins," were first applied to these workings by the cowboys who rode the range. The ancient village sites, shop sites and quarries are located over an area of ten by forty miles, extending from a point south of Manville to Bulls Bend on the north Platte River. Not all of this ground is taken up with workings, of course, but in all this region of four hundred square miles, the visitor is seldom out of sight of some village site or quarry. C. H. Robinson, who spent several weeks in the region says he traveled over six hundred miles on foot and horseback, and collected for Illinois State Museum four hundred and fifty-five specimens of rock work and for the McLean County Historical Society two hundred and eighty-eight specimens. This will give one some idea of the extent of these remains.|
Mr. Gilder says, "In no section of the entire world can be found ancient quarries of such magnitude." There must have been a dense population and thousands of workers in active employment in these fields for at least half a century.
|TOPOGRAPHY AND SCENERY|
| A description of the quarries first discovered (there were many others found later) was given by Mr. Bartlett in his correspondence in 1892, as follows:|
"The region is intensely weird and picturesque. The surrounding country is broken into a series of rugged hills, interspersed with rocky and sandy gulches, with stretches of mesas and desert plains to the south. Much of the area resembles the bad lands in its loneliness and its grotesque rock formations. From the top of the mesa where the principal workings are found, the scene though wild and desolate was magnificent. The Laramie range loomed up in the west against a clear sky, the table lands and foot hills between showing picturesque, rocky formations rising abruptly, clean cut and distinct, like castle towers and fortifications, but everywhere around us was an oppressive silence and desolation, as if we had invaded the burial ground of a long departed race.
The locality of the first discoveries is along the Dry Muddy. The country is so dry that live stock cannot range there. From the dry creek there arises a series of clififs of sandstone and quartzite, and along the top of these clififs in their broken and irregular formations stretching away for some miles are found the quarry workings, consisting of pits, tunnels, open cuts and immense bodies of rock dumps created by the mining operations. Beyond the workings and broken ledges at the top of the cliff a flat mesa-like formation extends southwardly and here the village and shop sites are located.
|THEIR SYSTEM OF MINING|
|The mining operations carried on in great magnitude among these rocks seem to have been on a peculiar stratum of quartzite lying in sandstone. This quartzite was selected undoubtedly on account of its conchoidal fracture which gave sharp edges, and the ease with which it could be shaped and worked. In order to reach the vein of quartzite the overlying strata of other kinds of rock had to be mined and removed. It is a curious fact that all this rock mining was done with rock tools, such as wedges and heavy hammers. In some instances the wedges were found set in the rock seams ready to be driven, and this seems to bear out Doctor Dorsey's theory that the region was suddenly abandoned either from attacks from enemy tribes or from some cataclysm of nature.|
Nowhere is there any evidence that metal tools were used in either mining or for domestic purposes. As to their manner of working, Doctor Dorsey says, "At one place on the bank near the ravine I found a great slab which evidently served as a seat for some workingman. Seating myself upon it, I could readily make out the grooves in front of the seat where had rested the legs and feet, while on the right were two hammer-stones of different sizes, and all about were chips, refuse, and many rejected and partially roughed-out implements."
Evidently their mining work was a slow, tedious and laborious process and very crude, requiring hundreds of workers to accomplish what two or three men could easily do today. Much of the work was done in pits from twenty-five to thirty feet in diameter and from ten to thirty feet deep. There were some tunnels and many open cuts of large extent. Everywhere were huge dumps of broken rock which had been worked out and worked over. In most cases the pits were nearly filled up with accumulation of soil and debris and trees and shrubbery were growing from them.
|THE ROCK IMPLEMENTS FOUND|
| The implements manufactured were for war, domestic and agricultural uses. In the opinion of experts the agricultural tools predominated.|
A general summary of the specimens found includes arrow and lance heads, knives, hide scrapers, hammers, axes, hoes, grinding mills, wedges, mauls and various leaf-shaped implements.
The heavy hammers or grooved mauls were usually of dense hard granite, but all the other output of the quarries was of the peculiar quartzite here excavated, so peculiar in fact that when in the surrounding country or in the neighboring states of Nebraska and Oklahoma, the tools can be easily recognized as coming from the Wyoming quarries—the character of the rock at once establishing a trade mark.
Tons of cores left just in the beginning of being shaped are found round the pits and shop sites. As to other rock manufactures, R. F. Gilder says: "Strange stone figures of immense proportions representing human beings and thousands of stone cairns are strewn over the landscape for many miles."
|SHOP AND VILLAGE SITES|
|Back on the mesa in close proximity to the workings are extensive village sites, marked by hundreds of tepee or lodge circles made by stones used to keep the poles in place that were covered with skins of animals or brush, and these were the habitations of this primitive race. Many of such villages are located forty or fifty miles away in pleasant valleys and parks where there were springs or running streams. Nearly all of these villages were also shop sites as is demonstrated by large accumulations of chips and rejects showing that they were simply adjuncts of the quarry mining.|
In these villages and work shops scattered over a region of probably five hundred square miles there are found many specimens of workmanship not made from the quarry blocks. Arrow and lance heads and hide scrapers are found beautifully fashioned from brilliantly colored agates, jasper and chalcedony. All colors are represented, white, blue, red, yellow, black and banded. They are mostly small and the work on these is so superior to that at the quarries that some are inclined to think they may be classed as the product of the modem Indians who occupied the country after the quarry races had passed away.
The Indians of today have no knowledge, theory or traditions concerning these remains. They have no knowledge of the system of mining these huge quarries, and never made an efifort to perform such laborious tasks.
|OTHER GREAT QUARRIES|
|The above description applies to the first discovered aboriginal quarries located on the Dry Muddy. Recent explorations have brought to light other extensive workings, the most important being in the vicinity of Saw Mill Canyon, near the North Platte River, fifteen or twenty miles southeast of the Muddy workings in Converse and Niobrara counties.|
Dr. Harlem I. Smith in an article published in the Archaeological Bulletin of April, 1914, says: "On my last trip we discovered many miles south of the 'Spanish Diggins' proper, another quarry district. The exact location of this cannot be made known at this time. Near these quarries are shop sites covering many acres where chips and cones are in such abundance as to stagger one's belief. Most of the material is black and yellow jasper and fine grained moss agate."
Mr. Gilder refers to this same locality probably when he says: "Another quarry territory discovered on one of my trips never explored is so difficult of access that I hardly know how to tell just where it is, but if you follow the canyon on the east bank of the Platte until west of the Saw Mill Canyon, you would reach a section so prolific in material, so tremendous in scale of work performed that you would never want to see another such district I am sure."
Thus it will be seen that the exploration of this wonderful region which links us to remote ages, has only just begun. The experts, scientists and curiosity hunters who have roamed over this area of some four hundred square miles have only seen surface indications and picked up such specimens as lay before the naked eye. There has been no systematic plan of exploration and no excavation of the pits to uncover the hidden relics of the race that worked and dreamed and passed "life's fitful fever" in these desolate wilds.
|SHOULD BE A NATIONAL PARK|
| In May, 1905, the writer addressed a letter to W. A. Richards, commissioner of the general land office, Washington, D. C, requesting the survey and withdrawal of these lands for the protection of pre-historic remains. Mr. Richards took up the matter with the United States Bureau of Ethnology which favored the project. The area however was so large, and so many private land titles were involved that action was deferred. The commissioner, however, said that if we could give him a description by survey of the section or sections upon which the principal quarries were found, he would recommend the reservation. At that time it was impossible to furnish that information and the national government had no surveyors in the field in this state.|
In the summer of 1914 I again took up the matter and succeeded in getting Governor Kendrick interested in the park or monument reserve. He gave me a strong letter to Secretary Lane, which I presented in person. The matter was referred to the Ethnological Department of the Smithsonian Institution and it v;as agreed to send out a party to survey and investigate the fields. Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard of the University of Wyoming took a deep interest in the plan and urged such resen^ation in letters to the Smithsonian people.
Owing to the great extent of the region involved, 400 to 600 square miles, it was deemed impracticable to reserve it all, but it was agreed to reserve the most important of the "diggins" for scientific research. This will undoubtedly be done. The next spring following the examination made by the Smithsonian Institution the government practically took charge of the principal workings and required all visitors who desired to take away specimens, to secure a permit from the Interior Department.
|THEORIES AND OPINIONS|
| The writer has visited ancient remains in New Mexico and Arizona and, while as objects they are picturesque and interesting, they cannot compare in impressiveness. weirdness and mystery to the Wyoming remains which are to be found on the American Continent. Personally I am strongly of the opinion that they belong to the stone age, for various reasons. The rock work was done with rock, they had no metal tools nor any domestic utensils except of rock manufacture, they had no dwelHngs that show any signs of architectural skill, and nowhere can be found any foundations of buildings except the crude stone circles that marked the skin covered tepees.|
Mr. Robinson, who has made a thorough study of the ^Mound Builders, says: "The specimens of stone tools, implements, etc.. are the same as found in the mounds of the Mississippi \"al!ey credited to the handicraft of the Mound Builders. The theory is thus advanced that these quarries may have been the site of the workshops of the pre-historic men who roamed over the land ages before the American Indian made his appearance. Here they made their utensils and implements of war and the chase to be later carried down the Platte to the Missouri and Mlississippi to be left in Illinois and the various states bordering on these streams."
Dr. F. B. Loomis of Amherst College wrote in June, 1915, as follows: "I have in the Amherst Collections several implements from Arkansas and other nearer localities made from material which doubtless came from these quarries, so they must have been visited by tribes far and near, or at least the material must have been traded widely. I know of no other place where the quarrying of rock for making stone implements was carried on to anywhere near as large an extent."
|INDIAN SITES AND CAVE DWELLINGS|
| Robert F. Gilder in an article contributed to the "Records of the Past," August, 1908, gives an account of the Indian sites of Whalen Canyon. The location of this canyon, or rather valley, is a few miles east of Sunrise and winds in a southerly direction to the North Platte River through the Black Hills of Wyoming. It has always been a favorite resort of the wild tribes on account of the fine grazing, the mountain springs, that feed a small stream which flows along the base of the eastern range of hills, and the great bodies of red hematite iron ore, which the Indians used as a pigment to decorate themselves, and their domestic implements. Especially on war trips they made lavish use of the paint ores.|
From the north end of this valley where it is abruptly closed in by hills with nothing but a wagon road out to the plain, it extends some fifteen miles to the river with hills rising on either side giving ample protection from winds and storms to those who made it their home. It was selected by the Indians as an ideal camping ground and for five or six miles at the base of the eastern range of hills they may be traced by the tepee beds of numerous Indian villages.
It was near here that Mr. Parkman the historian, spent nearly a year living with the Indians and studying their manners and customs which are so graphically described in his book "The Oregon Trail." Among the hills at the north end of the valley was the scene of conflicts among the Indian tribes and one battle ground is marked by an extensive burial ground.
Around the stone circles where their lodges were erected are found abundant collections of beautifully colored stones of agate, chalcedony and jasper, which they used in the manufacture of arrow, lance heads and hide scrapers, most of the implements being made for war and hunting purposes. These were undoubtedly the work of the modern Indian tribes and have no relation to the pre-historic workings of the so-called "Spanish Diggins," as the former used different stones and produced much more finished specimens of handiwork. Occasionally there is found stone axes and hammers that were evidently brought from the ancient workings on the Muddy.
|THE CAVE DWELLINGS|
| At the northern end of the valley among the western hills there is a gorge hemmed in by limestone cliffs in which natural caves are found that evidence shows were once inhabited by human beings. On the lower part of these cliffs there are a dozen or more large and small caverns which were first explored by J. L. Stein, a miner and prospector whose home was in Whalen Valley. His researches showed that the walls were smoke stained and charcoal embers were found where fires had been made, and in the debris on the floor of the caves were found flint chippings showing that work had been done by the dwellers, either during storms or when hiding from tribes on the war path.|
In one cavern Mr. Stein discovered the skeleton of a man covered with dust and stone fragments. It had evidently lain there for centuries. The skull was incrusted with lime accretions. Mr. Stein sent the skull to Maj. J. W. Powell of the Smithsonian Institution and it is now a part of their ethnological collections. These caverns were visited by Dr. George A. Dorsey in 1900, by Harlem I. Smith's expedition in 1907 and by Air. Gilder in 1906. Mr. Gilder found a jasper blade and stone awl lying on a shelf in one cave, ten feet from the entrance. Others found various flint instruments. The bones of rabbits and sage hens which had probably been used for food were found in these caves.
| Several discoveries of great interest have been made in the excavations made in opening up the iron mines six or eight miles south of the caves in the vicinity of Hartville and Sunrise. J. L. Stein and William Lauk, in running a tunnel into the hill, found at a depth of twenty feet, a stone mortar and grinding stone, an Indian necklace made of sinews strung with arrow heads, carved hoof bones, a stone tomahawk and the polished end of a horn. In another mine nearby rude stone paint mills were unearthed.|
These discoveries tell their own history. On account of the presence of large bodies of red hematite, the Indians made the region a favorite resort to obtain the brilliant, soft pigment for coloring their various articles of workmanship and particularly when large bands were organized for the warpath, and as a first preparation for the campaign, their faces and parts of the body were painted red. The rude stone paint mills found in both these mines tell the story as vividly as if the red warriors were fighting their battles today.
Hartville is rich in Indian and pioneer history. The old California and Alormon trail passes directly through the townsite. The very gulch in which the town is located was called "Indian Spring", as far back as the records of white men go. This spring gushes out of solid rock at the foot of a high cliff, and formerly furnished Hartville its supply of water. Along the outskirts of the townsite and covering a portion of it can be traced the tepee beds of the Indians who once resorted there, showing villages a mile in extent. It was also a favorite camping place of the 49ers and Mormons on account of its excellent supply of water and wood, and its beautiful situation.
About ten miles above Hartville situated in a wild and picturesque spot in the hills, between the old trail and the North Platte is Slade's canyon—the home of the famous desperado and his companions, and the place where they cached their plunder after foraging on the immigrant trains and stage travelers of that day.
|THE MEDICINE WHEELS|
| In this relation of Wyoming Antiquities the "medicine wheels" of the Big Horn range deserve especial mention, as having been recently discovered and still a subject of discussion and conjecture as to their origin and antiquity.|
In the American Anthropologist of March, 1903, C. S. Simms of the Field Columbian Museum gives an account of the wheels found on the summit of Medicine Mountain of the Big Horn range at an elevation of over 12.000 feet.
Mr. Simms was conducted to the spot by "Silver Tip", a prospector and hunter who had lived among the Indians when a boy. The ascent was slow and difficult as there was no good trail and heavy snow drifts were encountered. The summit of the mountain is broad at the west end tapering to narrow limits on the east where the medicine wheel is located. This is described by Simms as consisting of an immense wheel built upon the ground with slabs and boulders of limestone. The circumference of the wheel measures 245 feet. In the center which corresponds to the hub of a wheel is a circular structure built of stone about three feet high and from this there radiates twenty-seven lines of stone forming the spokes. The outer circle or rim at seven different places is marked by stone structures all on the rim, except one on the south which is built several feet beyond but connected by one of the spoke lines. The eastern structure differs from the others by being nearly square, and unlike the others is built higher and the opening is outside while the others open on the inside. On the projecting slabs of this structure rested a perfectly bleached bufifalo skull which had been so placed that it looked to the rising sun. Within the central structure which resembles a truncated cone there is a slightly circular depression in the ground. Mr. Simms says he was told of the medicine wheel by the Crow Indians, but none of them could tell anything of its origin, excepting that it "was made by people who had no iron."
W. M. Camp, author of a "History of the Indian Wars" visited the medicine wheel in July, 1916, and wrote to Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard some of his experiences on the trip. He was accompanied by a Mr. Shepherd who unearthed beads of a peculiar character which he sent to experts in New York. They pronounced the beads to be of a pattern worked in Venice over 300 years ago. In his letter Mr. Camp says he discovered a second medicine wheel about forty miles north in a direct line from the first, this one being larger than the first and quite different in design and in its location to landmarks, more striking and suggestive.
Doctor Long, a Sheridan minister, recently made a trip to the Medicine Mountain wheel, going up through the main canyon of the Little Big Horn and gives a graphic description of his journey and the magnificent scenic views he enjoyed. He says the history and origin of the medicine wheel is veiled in obscurity. The Indians of today frankly acknowledge their ignorance of its origin. One Crow chief said, "It was built before the light came," meaning it was prehistoric. One said, "It was a shrine for the worship of the sun."
Mr. Long has the idea it is in some way related to the worship of the Aztecs, or a people akin to the Aztecs of Mexico, who at one time inhabited this mountain region. Others think that its origin dates back to a much earlier period, or as the Indian says, "when the people had no iron." The Aztecs carried certain arts and manufactures to a high state of perfection. They were especially skilled in making potter)' and everywhere they lived in New Mexico and Arizona, may be found pottery and other specimens of their handiwork among their ruined structures. Here, none of many examples of Aztec manufacture and domestic life has been noted. The origin of the medicine wheel is therefore still open to conjecture and speculation.
|RUDE STONE ART IN BRIDGER BASIN|
|Prof. Joseph Leidy. of Hayden's Geological Survey of 1873, gives a very interesting report of the remains of primitive art which he discovered in Bridger Basin, or in the region adjacent to Fort Bridger, made up of table lands, valleys, buttes and plains. He says:|
"In some localities the stones strewn over the lower buttes and plains are broken and flaked in such a manner as in many cases, to assume the appearance of rude works of art. Among those of rudest construction there are a few of the finest finish. In some places the stone implements are so numerous, and at the same time so rudely constructed that one is constantly in doubt when to consider them as natural or accidental and when to view them as artificial. Some of the plains are so thickly strewn with natural and artificial splintered stones that they look as if they had been the battlefields of great armies during the stone age."
Representations of a few of the flaked stones are pictured in the report of which he says, "These with little doubt may be viewed as rude implements of art." He asked Dr. J. \'an A. Carter, residing at Fort Bridger and acquainted with the language, history and customs of the neighboring Indian tribes, about the origin of these specimens and the doctor said the present races of Indians knew nothing of them. He said the Shoshones look upon them as the gift of God to their ancestors. Of the illustrations given of sixteen specimens by Doctor Leidy all the rudest were manufactured from quartzite exactly corresponding with the stone of the great quarries first described in this chapter, and were of the same shape and type of workmanship, of coarse flaking. Undoubtedly these impletnents came from the same locality and were used by the same ancient races.
In this connection mention should be made of a beautiful vase that was found near one of the quarries on the Muddy, standing upon a stone block. This vase was 14 inches high, ten inches in diameter and the opening at the top was seven inches. This of course has no relation to the stone art, but was left by some late Indians or Mexicans that roamed that section.
|PRE-HISTORIC ANIMALS OF WYOMING,|
| The ancient animal life of the earth is always interesting. The strangeness and mystery of this life, the peculiar types and the enormous size of many fossil specimens discovered, have made it the subject of much scientific investigation and systematic research, as well as of extensive mining operations.|
Wyoming affords the most remarkable quarries and fields for this research and has for the last quarter of a century given to the scientific societies, colleges and museums of the world the most rare and gigantic specimens ever discovered.
In this way the animals that roamed the western plains in pre-historic times, the enormous reptiles that plashed around in these inland seas, and the huge birds that tracked their shores, have been reconstructed from their discovered fossilized bones, and their environment visualized, so that we of the present day may realize their surroundings, habits of life, powers of locomotion and habitat. The principal fields of research for the remains of extinct animals in Wyoming that have been successfully worked, are found on Lance Creek, north of Lusk, in the foot hills north of Medicine Bow, and at Fossil, a few miles west of Kemmerer. Operations have also been carried on in other sections of the state where valuable examples of pre-historic animal life have been unearthed.
The question has been often asked, how many years ago did this or that animal live? Prof. Fred A. Lucas of the United States National Museum, says: "The time that has elapsed since the beginning of the Jurassic age when the dinosaurs held carnival, is variously estimated from six to fifteen million years."
How these animals were exterminated or died off from natural causes is a matter of conjecture. Poisonous gases, lava, earthquakes, floods, etc., may have played a part. The earliest traces of animal life says Doctor Lucas, "are found beneath something like eighteen to twenty-five miles of rock!"
If an animal is sunk in a quiet lake the waves accumulate mud and sand and deposit over it, a process of entombment takes place, the air is excluded and the lime or silica soon makes the strata a solid mass. The period of fos-silization, however, is very slow, often a matter of many centuries.
Some are animals changed into stone, some are footprints made by animals in an impressible stratum, some are simply moulds of the form where the animal lay, from which casts are made in restoring the subject. Among the animals found in Wyoming the dinosaurs claim distinction as being the largest known quadrupeds that have walked the face of the earth. The broiUosaurus or Thunder Lizard, beneath whose mighty tread the earth shook, and his kindred were from 40 to 60 feet long, their thigh bones measuring from five to six feet. A tooth of the Mammoth of the elephant type in the United States National Museum has a grinding space five by eight inches and weighs over 15 pounds.
The skull of a Triceratops when boxed for the museum weighed 3,650 pounds. This will give the reader a general idea of the gigantic size of some pre-historic animals. In the West of late years there has been a vast amount of collecting and much new information has been gained. In Wyoming attention was called to our precious animal deposits by Professor Hayden's reports in the United States Geological Surveys of 1868 to 1873. On his expedition in 1868, Hayden was accompanied by Professor Agassiz, the celebrated scientist, and during their explorations of this section Agassiz made his headquarters in Cheyenne, his especial studies being in the department of paleontology. The fossils then unearthed were small sea-fish, shells, ferns, etc., and were studied with reference to the geologic periods of the formations examined.
Impressions of feathers have been found in the Green River and Florrisant shales of Wyoming. In the rock formations at Fossil, many forms of marine life, various kinds of fish, as well as snakes, and queer birds, and various forms of typical vegetation are found in great abundance. The largest specimen taken from this field was a fish about ten feet long. The products of the Wyoming fossil fields may be found today in museums in many parts of the world, although the deposits have been only partially worked.
Recent publications of the National Museum by Charles W. Gilmore, describe "new species of fossil turtles," from the Lance formation and "the osteology of an orthopodous" from the same section in Wyoming. Professor Gil-more is curator of fossil reptiles for the museum and before going to Washington, spent several years in the great fossil fields of this state while a member of the faculty of the University of Wyoming.
The large reptiles are found in the shales, chalk or hard clay, and the work of excavating them comes under a special class of mining requiring expert direction. It is done with mining tools, picks, shovels, drills, hammers and wedges. Every bone or section must be carefully removed and is duly recorded by letter and number and its position designated so the parts can be assembled in the work room and the skeleton reconstructed. Single bones weighing from lOO to 500 pounds, even when shattered into fragments are reunited by the skill of the paleontologist, covered with plaster bandages and shipped by freight for a thousand miles or more. The real task of restoration is done at the museum. To clean a single vertebra of a large dinosaur requires a month of continuous labor, and a score of these are included in one back bone. In its remarkable fossil fields Wyoming has made notable contributions to science and to the study of pre-historic animal life on this continent.