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Then and Now - Cenozoic Fossil Parks

It's hard to imagine what our lands looked like long before they were national parks. Take a trip all the way back to the Cenozoic era with these photos. Use the arrow to slide back and forth between illustrations of what scientists believe things looked like then and photos of what they look like now.

Fossil Butte National Monument, Wyoming
an illustration of prehistoric mammals and reptiles near water rocky formation against blue sky
52 million years ago, mural by Robert Hynes
Today, NPS Photo



John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon
illustration of john day fossil bed as a lush forest and wild cat rocky formations against a blue sky
44 million years ago, Clarno mural by Larry Felder
Today, Photo by Will Landon



Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Colorado
illustration of many trees and hill in the distance a grassy hill and trees
34 million years ago, mural courtesy of NPS
Today, NPS Photo



John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon
illustration of john day fossil bed as a lush forest barren desert landscape
33 million years ago, Bridge Creek Flora mural by Larry Felder
Today, Photo by Will Landon



John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon
illustration of john day fossil bed as a lush forest with wild animals rocky formation with text - columbia river basalt, kimerly member, turtle cove member
29 million years ago, Turtle Cove mural by Roger Witter
Today, Photo by Will Landon



John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon
illustration of john day fossil bed as a lush forest
15 million years ago, Mascall mural by Roger Witter
Photo by Will Landon



Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Idaho
illustration of animals drinking from a water source a very large rocky formation, water in the foreground
3.2 million years ago, mural by Jay Matternes
Today, NPS Photo



Waco Mammoth National Monument Texas
illustration of elephants and other mammals a paved path through green trees
65 thousand years ago, NPS photo
Today, NPS Photo



Last updated: September 8, 2020