By Stanley Hedeen
Shawnee legend tells of a herd of massive bison rampaging throughout the Ohio Valley, laying waste to all of their direction. to guard the tribe, a deity slew those nice beasts with lightning bolts, ultimately chasing the final mammoth buffalo into exile around the Wabash River, by no means to hassle the Shawnee back. The resource of this legend was once a weird salt lick in present-day northern Kentucky, the place gigantic fossilized skeletons had for hundreds of years lain undisturbed via the Shawnee and different natives of the quarter. In 1739, the 1st Europeans encountered this fossil website, which finally got here to be often called giant Bone Lick. the location drew the eye of all who heard of it, together with George Washington, Daniel Boone, Benjamin Franklin, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and particularly Thomas Jefferson. the enormous bones instantly forged many clinical and philosophical assumptions of the day into doubt, and so they ultimately gave upward thrust to the examine of fossils for organic and ancient reasons. titanic Bone Lick: The Cradle of yankee Paleontology recounts the wealthy background of the fossil web site that gave the area the 1st proof of the extinction of numerous mammalian species, together with the yankee mastodon. enormous Bone Lick has performed many jobs: nutrient resource, hallowed flooring, salt mine, future health spa, and a wealthy trove of archaeological and paleontological wonders. traditional historian Stanley Hedeen offers a complete narrative of massive Bone Lick from its geological formation ahead, explaining why the positioning attracted animals, nearby tribespeople, ecu explorers and scientists, and at last American pioneers and presidents. large Bone Lick is the heritage of either a spot and a systematic self-discipline: it explores the infancy and youth of paleontology from its humble and infrequently funny beginnings. Hedeen combines components of historical past, geology, politics, and biology to make significant Bone Lick a necessary ancient source in addition to the compelling story of the way a set of fossilized bones captivated a tender nation.
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Additional info for Big Bone Lick: The Cradle of American Paleontology
I got a shell of a Tusk of hard and good ivory about eighteen inches long. There is a great number of bones in a Bank on the side of this pond of enormous size but decayed and rotten. Ribs 9 inches broad, Thigh bones 10 inches diameter. What sort of animals these were is not clearly known. All the traditionary accounts by the Indians is that they were White Buffaloes that killed themselves by drinking salt water. Following this reference to otherwise unknown Indian accounts of the source of the big bones, Cresswell’s journal entry concludes by touching on many aspects of the Lick that have been mentioned in this chapter, including the occurrence of lightning strikes at the location: 29 Big Bone Lick Saw some buffalos but killed none.
And in 1755, Mary Ingles ﬂed from her Shawnee captors, who had taken her to gather salt at the site (see chapter 2). ”11 Also in 1755, Philadelphia cartographer Lewis Evans published A General Map of the Middle British Colonies, in America; etc. ” The map of English holdings included the Ohio River because, according to the British, the Iroquois had granted England total control of the Ohio Valley in 1744. 12 Toward the end of the Seven Years’ War, James Kenny was put in charge of the trading store run by the Pennsylvania Commission of Indian Affairs in Pittsburgh.
They returned to the man and told him that they would care for him. This they did, and brought him to his friends, who from his story learned that the returned warriors were false, and they were accordingly punished. 11 A Wyandot storyteller shared a similar legend during the latter half of the nineteenth century. In this tale, the springs at Big Bone Lick were once dominated by Witch Buffalo, massive female bison that drove away the animals hunted by the Indians. 28 Indian Accounts of Great Buffalo Luckily, Little People arrived and slaughtered the enormous Witch Buffalo, leaving their big bones scattered around the springs.
Big Bone Lick: The Cradle of American Paleontology by Stanley Hedeen