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>R. A. Martin wrote:
>> Can anyone provide me with a reference or two summarizing the history of
>> paleontology in America? Failing that, has anyone authoritative knowledge
>> of the first paleontological expedition/dig here? Whodunit and where?
>> Thanks, Bob
>As far as I know, the *earliest* authoritative documentation of
>North America was done by Lewis and Clark (specifically, in the journals
>of M. Lewis).
>From what I've read, Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark out because he,
Jefferson, had found fossil bones on his land in Virginia and wanted to see
the living versions. He believed in the Plenum and the impossibility of
extinction - Megalonyx (a sloth, which he thought was a lion) must be out
There were also pre-1800 publications on footprints in the Connecticut
Valley, locally known as the tracks of "Noah's Raven." Colbert's "Men and
Dinosaurs" (recently republished by Dover with a slightly different title)
talks about these.
Department of Geological Sciences
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712