Mascall Overlook: Wonderful and Weird Oregon

Oregon is full of volcanic landscapes from different periods in Earth’s history. The Mascall Overlook near John Day, OR, is stunning.

15 million years ago, this was a receding forest being replaced by grasslands. It was populated by horses, camels, and giraffe-deer. Then, as so often happens in Oregon history, a volcano exploded. The upheaval filled the valley with lava and ash and pushed up the plains, creating this unique landscape and capturing the denizens in fossils who weren’t fortunate enough to escape .

Glad we ran across this gem in our wanderings about the state.

 

 

Terminator Pigs of the Badlands: Wonderful and Weird Oregon

Out in Eastern Oregon is the John Day National Monument, a large parcel of desert land rich with fossils and history predating human existence. It is a beautiful place, and one of the fossils they find in the area are entelodonts, also known as ‘Terminator Pigs.’

I love my dinosaurs, but there were some really interesting and gruesome large mammals that walked the Earth as well. These ‘pigs’ were the size of a buffalo, and look at those teeth! Those do no look friendly.

The extent to which they hunted is widely debated, but those teeth weren’t for eating grass. They lived in the forests and on the plains of North America and Eurasia from the late Eocene to middle Miocene epochs (37.2–15.97 million years ago), existing for about 21.23 million years. Their fossils are quite rare, and I find their existence fascinating to ponder.

Here’s what they probably looked like. I wouldn’t have wanted to meet one.