Visitor Information Phone Line Experiencing Intermittent Outages
The visitor center phone line is not working reliably for some callers. If you are unable to get through to the staff during business hours, click the More link to email visitor services and a ranger will contact you as soon as possible More »
Changes to Visitor Service Due to Sequestration
Due to mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts, some visitor services in this park have changed. Please check the Plan Your Visit section for more information. More »
John Day Fossil Beds Paleontology
Every summer members of the park's paleontology staff visit many of the over 700 fossil localities that make up the John Day Fossil Beds.
Before any fossils are collected from the field, careful notation and location recordings are made in field notebooks.
How do paleontologists find fossils?
The simple answer is that they know where to look! Paleontologists search certain rock types where fossils would likely have been preserved. For example, water-lain strata such as ancient lake beds and river or floodplain deposits often contain fossils. Then the dirty work begins. They examine the ground in search of any bone or plant fragments. Paleontologists often prospect for new remains exposed after the beds have weathered for awhile.
Did You Know?
The Thomas Condon Paleontology Center has a viewing window into the fossil laboratory, where the monument's paleontologists can often be seen at work.