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Re: paleohistory



In a message dated 98-01-11 03:04:21 EST, bh162@scn.org writes:

<< As far as I know, the *earliest* authoritative documentation of
 paleontology in
 North America was done by Lewis and Clark (specifically, in the journals
 of M. Lewis).  Not much was written, though.  Mostly anecdotal accounts
 by Souix and Blackfoot finds of the "bones of giant people".
 The territory, you ask?  Why, the Montana part of the Louisiana
 Territory,
 *of course*!  :-) >>

I'd like to think that if it weren't for paleontology, the United States
wouldn't exist. Instead, we'd have three countries: an eastern English-
speaking United States crowded between the Atlantic and the Mississippi River,
a French-speaking central-northwest country extending from what is now
Louisiana to Oregon, and a Spanish-speaking southwestern country, probably
part of an enlarged Mexico. It was Thomas Jefferson's strong interest in
paleontology that spurred him to purchase the Louisiana Territory from
Napoleon: One of his directives to Lewis & Clark was to seek evidence of
living examples of the giant ground sloth and other animals that may not have
become extinct out west. And without the Louisiana Purchase, the United States
would not have been able to expand westward toward California.

Nah--Jefferson would probably have purchased Louisiana anyway, right?