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Team: North
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
A Lovely Day at the Lake (about 50 million years ago)
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Red Gulch dinosaur tracksite, near Worland, Wyoming

Red Gulch dinosaur tracksite, near Worland, Wyoming
Courtesy Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming State Office

Today, Team North visits lovely Fossil Lake, a lush wetlands surrounded by ferns, trees, and wildflowers, and inhabited by crocodiles, various fish, and stingrays. Area wildlife includes dog-sized horses, bats, and a variety of bird life. Unfortunately, they're about 50 million years too late to go swimming in this lake, but they can at least appreciate some of the wildlife, preserved in the limestone bluffs of Fossil Butte National Monument.

During the 2 million lifespan of Fossil Lake, sediments precipitated out of the water, covering plants and animals at the bottom. This steady calcification created an unparalleled record of life in the Eocene period, where fish, reptiles, insects and plants are all preserved in perfect detail. The record is so complete that paleontologists have been able to glean invaluable data about this period, including how climate change affects biological communities. If Team North still really wants to go swimming, though, they'll have to wait until the end of the day, when they camp by present-day Fontenelle Reservoir, on the Green River.
for Tuesday, September 17
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