Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Prehistoric Fullerton!

Today I visited Ralph Clark Regional Park in Fullerton.  In addition to trails, a pond, and sports fields, the park is home to an interpretive center which has lots of fossils of creatures that roamed this area millions of years ago, like dinosaurs, mastodons, saber-toothed cars, and giant sloths.

Millions of years ago, Orange County was under water.  Sea creatures were probably swimming where your house is right now, like this ancient sea lion:

Or this creature...

As the waters slowly receded and the Ice Age began, large mammals entered the area like saber-toothed cats!

Giant wooly Mammoths and Mastodons roamed these lands.  Imagine running into one of these guys on your morning walk...

Look at those chompers!

The interpretive center has lots of skulls and tusks.

Giant sloths are not mythical creatures.  They lived here too.

Sloth skeleton (above), Artist rendering of sloth (below)

There were weird looking horse-things here too.

A bit later on, bison roamed these lands.  Now we're talking thousands, not millions of years ago.  If you ever saw that movie Dances With Wolves, you know what happened to American bison.  Stupid yankees!

Paleontology is an important branch of science, involving careful documentation, excavation, and research.

Can you dig it?

The hadrosaur was a duck-billed dinosaur who, naturally, was not very scary.  Hadrosaurs probably evolved into modern-day ducks, like these, who we found milling around outside the Interpretive Center.

Can you imagine Orange County in the Cretaceous Period?!

Have a great day!

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