My first introduction with Big Bone Lick State Historic Park was through a book I found at my local library, Big Bone Lick: The Cradle of American Paleontology, by Stanley Hedeen. In it, he describes two resources that brought animals (both prehistoric and contemporary) and people (Native Americans and those that followed) to that area.
A number of mammoth, mastodon and ground sloth fossils have been found there over the years. This is a site I want to revisit on this blog, as some of the initial recorded discoveries were significant for paleontology as a whole. Todd Young alludes to this in answer to question #6 below.
Todd Young, a Naturalist at the Park, generously (and so quickly!) responded to my questions about the Park and the upcoming event on October 24th that details paranormal sightings there.
1. For those of us who are unable to attend, can you tell me more about what the program is like?
The program is a hybrid of the parks history coupled with paranormal claims at the park. Many people claim the history of the park has something to do with the paranormal activity reported at Big Bone. This program will accurately detail the history of people and events at the park. The paranormal evidence is being supplied by paranormal groups and the general public who have investigated at the park.
2. Where does the information of paranormal activity come from?
The paranormal evidence comes from paranormal groups who have investigated here, the general public who has accompanied park sponsored investigations, and park staff.
3. Are any of the fossils at Big Bone Lick in situ? How many fossils are currently on display at the park in general?
Bones that have been found outside on the park grounds are properly excavated and then stored so they are not taken. We only have a very limited display area so most of the bones and artifacts found at the park are in storage.
4. Do paleontologists continue to work here?
Yes. In 2008 the Cincinnati Museum Center conducted a paleontological dig to recover bison bones that had been found in the creek. Dr. Glenn Storrs, Dr. Bob Genheimer, and Dr. Stanley Hedeen led the dig and recovered several hundred bison bones from the site.
In 2012 the University of Cincinnati started profile work here at Big Bone to set the groundwork for a more comprehensive dig in the following years. In 2013, Dr. Ken Tankersley continued Paleontological and archaeological work at the park and recovered several hundred bones and bone fragments from many different species of animals including those from the last Ice Age.
Work will continue in 2014 from mid May until around the end of June and the general public is welcome to come and volunteer to help out.
5. Where are the fossils in relation to this map? http://parks.ky.gov/!userfiles/aParkBrochures/Maps/BigBoneLick.pdf
Fossils are generally buried well underground at the park and mostly are found in the low laying area around the creek.
6. Is there anything about the park (related to the fossils) that is not widely known?
There have been 5 holotypes found at Big Bone Lick. A holotype is a specimen of an animal that is first found in a certain location.
7. Are there any pictures of fossils from the park you’d like to include?
The best pictures you can find of fossil remains are from the recent dig. All of those pictures are on the UC field school Facebook page. You can find them at this URL location:
For more information about Ghosts at Bone Lick on October 24th: http://parks.ky.gov/calendar/details/ghosts-of-big-bone/18858/
For more information about Big Bone Lick State Park: http://parks.ky.gov/parks/historicsites/big-bone-lick/
To volunteer for the dig in 2014, be sure to contact people at the park! Here is the site’s contact page: http://parks.ky.gov/parks/historicsites/big-bone-lick/contact.aspx
Here is the contact info on the side of the page:
Phone: (859) 384-3522
Park Manager: Dean Henson
Many, many thanks to Todd Young!!