• Sierra del Carmen

    Big Bend

    National Park Texas

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  • Extreme Water Shortage

    Extreme water shortage throughout park. Visitors are limited to 5 gallons per day, and are encouraged to conserve further when possible. Please consider bringing your own water to the park.

Fossils

Fossil
Fossil
NPS Photo/Cookie Ballou
 

There isn't a single region on the planet that has an all-inclusive fossil history of life on Earth. This is why places like Big Bend National Park, which have an emphasis on one time frame, can contribute so much to our knowledge base. Big Bend National Park’s geologic history is not only complex and diverse, but also contains an amazing fossil record of the late Cretaceous and early Tertiary periods.

Some of Big Bend's fossil finds include bones of a pterosaur, the second largest known flying creature of all time with a 36-foot wingspan, as well as the skull of the triceratops-like Chasmosaurus, the largest known skull of any land animal. In addition to numerous dinosaurs, giant crocodiles, and other reptiles, the park has abundant fossilized wood, early mammals, and a wide variety of marine vertebrates and invertebrates.

Information on fossil site locations are often kept confidential to protect these valuable resources.

Did You Know?

Apollo 17 landing site

Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmidt visited Big Bend in 1971 to study the regions geology in preparation for their mission to the moon. This was one of four field trips to Big Bend that Apollo astronauts participated in between 1964 and 1971.