The monument's paleontological resources are contained in a continuous, undisturbed stratigraphic record spanning at least 500,000 years. The fossils deposited here appear to represent an entire paleontological ecosystem with a variety of habitats such as wetland, riparian, and grassland.
What are Fossils?
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of an organism, from bacteria to human beings. Many fossils come from body parts such as bones, teeth, and shells, but trace fossils, such as footprints or coprolites (fossilized scat), also contain valuable information. Fossilization can occur only under just the right conditions, and less than 1% of the plants and animals that have ever lived have been preserved. An even smaller number have been found by paleontologists.
What is Paleontology?
Find out what paleontologists really do— and check out the latest paleo news from Hagerman and other National Park Service sites.
Last updated: June 7, 2022