Happy Birthday, Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden
Born in 1829, this American geologist did pioneering surveying expeditions of the Rocky Mountains in the late 19th century.
In other words, he studied the gorgeous, rugged Rockies!
I just got back from a trip in the Rockies, and I love the land—the jagged peaks and glacial tors, the lakes and waterfalls and cascading streams, the elk and deer and moose, and especially the rustling aspens among the stately dark pines.
One of my favorite spots on Earth is Yellowstone, and Hayden not only did an early study of it, he helped convince Congress to set aside that land as a National Park.
Hayden is acknowledged as having made the first discovery of dinosaur remains in North America. He found some isolated teeth during an exploration of the upper Missouri River. I don't know if he actually identified the teeth as belonging to dinosaurs. Later, many dinosaur skeletons were found in the West, and a couple of Great Dinosaur Rushes occurred as paleontologists rushed to be the best or to find the most.
But Hayden was first.
- Check out this slideshow of Yellowstone's beauties. Look for Hayden's name in one of the captions.
- Geysers are rare in the world—but not at Yellowstone! More than half of the entire world's geysers are in that one national park! Learn about geysers using Alka-Seltzer and liquid soap or Diet Coke and Mentos.
(It's important to use Diet Coke, because the regular stuff is really sticky. Actually, it's important to do geyser experiments outside in a place that doesn't mind a gushing mess.)
- Check out a dinosaur map by clicking the yellow “View the Dinosaur Map” link on the purple stripe. Are you surprised to see the distribution of the dinosaur fossils marked? Do you think this distribution says more about where dinosaurs lived or where paleontologists choose to dig?
- Here is a gallery with illustrations of many different types of dinosaurs. Explore!