Audio Description Page 2


Kimberly Assemblage: 24 Million Years Ago

Text: Geologic evidence suggests that large amounts of soft, ashy soils laid down during the Kimberly time allowed tiny burrowing animals to be fossilized. The number and variety of burrowing rodent fossils (skull [pictured] at lower right) reflect more open habitat.

The habitat was forest and field, with elm, birch, oak, maple, fir, spruce, pine, and smaller plants and shrubs. Grasses may have just started to appear in the region. A very diverse population of oreodonts (skull [pictured] above) browsed the forests and fields along with three-toed horses and rhinos.

Illustration description: Two grey-colored medium-sized mammals walk through a portion of a shallow body of water in the foreground. Water splashes around their lower legs. The water is clear and reflects the blue sky and the trees that surround it. The water’s shoreline is brown and slightly expansive. Behind the mammals on the shoreline are clumps of low green grasses. A tan field with more clumps of grasses expands into the distance where there is a line of lush green shrubbery and smaller trees. In the distant background is a tree-filled mountain range.

Fossil description (1): A beige skull fossil is presented at an angled profile. A hole is where its left eye would be. Its snout is thick and dominates the skull. Its mouth is closed.

Fossil description (2): A profile of a paw fossil. Two long claws are curled under what would have been its paw.

Turtle Cove Assemblage: Twenty-Nine Million Years Ago

Text: During the Turtle Cove time, the climate continued to cool and dry. Hardwood forests similar to those growing in the eastern United States today were inundated with ash and pumice from abundant volcanic eruptions. The habitat was primarily woodland. Three-toed horses, mouse-deer, beavers, and oreodonts (foot bones and illustration at left) browsed on the many leafy plants.

Prey were hunted by bear-dogs, nimravids—saber-toothed, catlike animals of varied sizes—and entelodonts, creatures that looked like warthogs and were as tall as bison.

Illustration description: Behind a bare, light colored tree trunk laying on the ground with two bare branches protruding upwards is a mammal. Its hide is white and it has orange-brown colored stripes across the top of its hindquarters, back, neck and face resembling that of a small zebra. Its tail is long and thin. Standing on all fours, its head is down close to the ground. Behind its head is the bottom section of an upright tree.

Fossil description: A tan colored fossil of the toes of a three-toed horse. Each bone leads to the toe which leads to a think curved claw. The middle toe is the longest.

Bridge Creek Flora: Thirty-Three Million Years Ago

Text: The Bridge Creek Flora shows evidence of one of Earth’s cooling trends. As the region gradually became cooler and drier, it had forests, lakes, and swamps and resembled the balmy parts of the southeastern United States.

Many trees in this ancient forest are related to modern alders, elms, maples, and oaks. The deciduous conifer Metasequoia, or dawn redwood (fossil [pictured] at left), was widespread. Metasequoia is Oregon’s state fossil.

The Bridge Creek Flora has fossils of leaves, fish, amphibians, birds, and insects preserved like pressed flowers in a book. Mammal fossils, save for the occasional bat, are rare in these ashy lakebed sediments.

Illustration description: A variety of trees and shrubbery are scattered throughout this image. Their colors range from greens to yellows to browns. Sunlight filters through the cloudy sky and onto the ground. The rippling clouds range from dark grey to white. The top of a mountain or volcano peaks out of some clouds in the far background.

Fossil description: On a tan-colored rock is a brown fossil of a dawn red wood leaf. On either side of a single branch or vein are its multiple, slim feather-like leaves, like the needles on a pine tree.

Hancock Mammal Quarry: Forty Million Years Ago

Text: The scene at the top of this page recreates a warm, humid forest; the plants are vaguely familiar. A scalding volcanic mudflow (lahar) has recently torn through the jungle-like foliage. Dozens of beasts gather in the newly opened area, the mud littered with plant and animal remains.

Mammals include Happlohippus, a small four-toed horse; huge rhino-like animals called brontotheres (a mother and calf are shown at top right [top illustration on side one of the brochure]), and early rhino Teletaceras (skull [pictured] at right), and Plesiocolipirus, an early tapir.

A variety of animal remains was preserved at this site, which is probably a former bend in a stream with high sedimentation.

Fossil description: This fossil of a rhino skull is a combination of light, medium and dark colors. The main portion of the skull is medium brown. It is shown in left profile. Only the top part of its jaw is present and angled to show all of its teeth on the left and right sides. Most of its teeth are present and are dark brown with multiple, sharp points. A fang on the right is lighter in color and hangs past the rest of its teeth.

Clarno Nut Beds: Forty-Four Million Years Ago

Text: This was a wet, lush, semitropical forest with many vines and creepers—similar to Panama’s jungles today.

Over 300 plant species have been found here—175 species of fruits and nuts alone, including chestnuts, walnuts, bananas, and moonseeds ([pictured] left). Early magnolias and palms were common. These plant fossils are more than just leaf impressions, evidenced by one of the most diverse collections of petrified wood found anywhere.

Browsing mammals, several of great size, were brontotheres and amynodonts. Strong-jawed hyaenadonts were scaveangers. The large catlike Patriofelis ([pictured] right) was a major predator.

Illustration description: The large catlike creature is outside of the rectangular picture of the environment. It has beige hair, shortish legs and a long tail. Its body and head are stocky and it has small pointed ears and a short snout. Behind it is the illustration of the environment in which it lived. In the right foreground is a tree trunk rising beyond the frame of the image. Bare vines hang down around it. Behind it and in the center is a mammal that looks similar to a stocky horse-like creature. It is mostly grey with faint striping, and hints of orange-brown on its head, top of its back and top of its hindquarters. It is standing in a shallow pool of water. Surrounding the pool of water is a lush mixture of green shrubs and trees. In the distance are two more cat-like mammals.

Fossil description: This dark brown fossilized moonseed looks like a large date seed and has grooves, pits, and a bumpy texture.

Your Guide to John Day Fossil Beds

Side two of the brochure is comprised of text, four maps and five color photographs. The map at the top is of the larger area and identifies the three units within the park. The three additional maps across the middle section are of each unit. Photos underneath these maps highlight places within these units.

The text, associated maps and photo descriptions are presented under their own sections. In addition to the map and photo descriptions, the text sections provide many descriptive details about what the areas look like and information about getting there and what trails and amenities are available.

All maps present the topography in shades of beige; and, in the case of the park-wide map, light and medium greens. The green sections of the maps for the three units in the park are not a reflection of the topography, but of the unit's border within the larger area.

Getting Started

Text: John Day Fossil Beds National Monument encompasses 14,000 acres in three separate units: Painted Hills, Sheep Rock, and Clarno. Driving routes between units pass by stunning scenery, colorful geological features, and abundant wildlife.

The best place to start your visit and to see fossils is the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, the park visitor center. It is open daily year-round; in winter it is closed on federal holidays. Ask park staff about accessibility features.

Trails and picnic facilities are open year-round during daylight hours. From spring into fall, drinking water is available at all picnic areas. All park roads and parking areas allow bus and trailer access. There is no camping in the park.

Camping, lodging, food, gas, RV parks, and other services are available near the park units. All park roads and parking areas allow bus and trailer access.

Stay Safe, Protect the Park

Text: Fossil collecting is strictly prohibited. Researchers may collect fossils only with a valid research permit issued by the park superintendent, and must carry permit at all times. Federal law protects all fossils and other natural and cultural features in the park. Do not collect, dig, or disturb them in any way.

  • When hiking, please stay on trails and wear appropriate footwear and sun protection. Carry plenty of water.
  • Watch out for rattlesnakes, ticks, scorpions, black widow spiders, and puncture vine. Don’t put your hands or feet where you cannot clearly see what’s there.
  • Fishing requires a valid Oregon fishing license.
  • For firearms regulations, contact the park staff or visit the park website.
  • There is private property within the park boundary. Please respect posted warnings.
  • Pets must be on a 6-foot leach under the owner’s control. Pets are allowed on park trails, overlooks, and roads. They are not allowed in buildings, off-trail, or off-leash.

Map of John Day Fossils National Monument

Map description: This map represents a portion of the State of Oregon. North is pointing up and the map legend indicates that approximately seven-eighths of an inch equals 20 miles and a little over a half of an inch equals 20 kilometers. The north-south positioned Cascade Mountain Range is to the west (left) of the park. East of the Cascade Range and south of the park are the east-west Ochoco Mountains. Slightly north and east of the Ochoco Mountains and travelling diagonally southwest to northwest are the Blue Mountains, which are on the east side of the park. The topography of the area is represented in medium to light greens as well as beige colors. The Cascade Range is the darkest and thickest green area. The Ochoco and Blue Mountains are a lighter green and thinner with spots of beige. The park is nestled within these two areas and surrounded by many spots of beige topography. The Clarno Unit of the Park is in the north off of Route 218. The Painted Hills Unit is south of Clarno off of Route 26. The Sheep Rock Unit is east of Painted Hills and is also off of Route 26. Directions and distances from neighboring areas are listed under each unit's section.

Last updated: June 30, 2018

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Mailing Address:

32651 Highway 19
Kimberly, OR 97848


(541) 987-2333

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