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AGATE FOSSIL BED NATIONAL MONUMENT

AGATE FOSSIL BED NATIONAL MONUMENT (AFBNM) is located in far Western Nebraska, on Highway 29 between Mitchell on the South and Harrison on the North. The closest larger town is Scottsbluff, Nebraska.


Here are some panoramic shots taken in 1999
inside the AGATE FOSSIL BED NATIONAL MONUMENT.

photos by T. W. "Terry" Proctor, J.D., 1999



These are Oligocene animals.
For more information you may want to read the article
DETERMINATION = BIG REWARDS
(English subtitle - A great trip to "The Badlands" of Northwest Nebraska

The Agate Fossil Bed National Monument (AFBNM) is very near the towns of Harrison and Mitchell, in Western Nebraska. The Agate Fossil Bed National Monument is run by the National Park Service. You can find out more information at http://www.nps.gov/agfo/.

To get to the AFBNM: Visitors traveling east-west on U.S. Highway 26, turn North on State Highway 29 at Mitchell, Nebraska. The park is 34 miles from Mitchell. Visitors traveling on U.S. Highway 20, turn South on State Highway 29 at Harrison, Nebraska. The park is 22 miles from Harrison. Follow the National Park Service signs. There is no public transportation available at the park. However, there is a taxi service in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, which is not too far from the AFBNM.

Here is some information borrowed from the official National Park Service site for AFBNM.


Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is nestled in the Niobrara River Valley in Nebraska 65 miles [110 km] east-southeast of its headwaters in the Hat Creek Breaks of Wyoming. The park preserves a unique unglaciated area of the High Plains. Wetlands stretch out from the river and meet terraces that lead to the breaks and buttes. The buttes contain important information about the life of mammals in the Miocene Era, some 20 million years ago.

During the Miocene the land now known as Agate was a grass savanna comparable to today’s Serengeti Plains in Africa. Twenty million years ago animals such as the Dinohyus (giant pig-like animal), Stenomylus (small gazelle-camel), and Menoceras (short rhinoceros) roamed the plains. There were also carnivorous beardogs wandering around, and the land beaver Paleocastor dug spiral burrows that remain as today’s trace fossils (Daemonelix) into the ancient riverbanks. There are remnants of the ancient grasses and hoofprints of prehistoric animals in Miocene sediments preserved in the park, as well as layers of fossilized bones.

The park was created to preserve the rich fossil deposits and their geological contexts amidst today’s natural ecosystem. Numerous mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds inhabit or pass through the park, undisturbed and protected. Many species of native grasses and shrubs grow across the park’s landscape, as well as some undesirable non-native plants (e.g., Canada thistle) that the park does its best to control. Use the links to the left to learn more about the geology, plants, animals, climate, and environment at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument.


The land beaver, Paleocastor, which dug the spiral burrows into the ancient riverbanks, which spiral burrows remain today as trace fossils called Daemonelix. Here are some pictures of one of these Daemonelix spiral burrow, which was dug out and photographed in 2000 by Duanne Clark (2004-2005 PMNS President and member of HGMS. Click here to see Paleocastor and its fossilizedDaemonelix spiral burrow.



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