Hold Up! We DID Have Prehistoric Life in Iowa
When I was a kid and learned about dinosaurs and other various prehistoric creatures, I was of course curious if we had any dinos I live. Now, as a child, my mind assumed these prehistoric monsters lived in a house, like me. Shopped at a grocery store, like me, and went to school, like me. As I got older I learned that's not the case. But the question remains, were there dinosaurs where I lived? So, did dinosaurs once roam the Hawkeye State?
Iowa did have dinosaurs as we've come to know 'em, but...
I hate to burst your dino-bubble, but Iowa spent most of its pre-human history covered with water, according to history site Thought Co. Don't despair though, this doesn't mean paleontologists had no luck finding prehistoric critters in Iowa. There have been several creatures linked to living here millions of years ago according to scientists.
- Plesiosaurs - these skinny, reptilian creatures flourished in Iowa since we were mainly underwater during the days of the dinosaur. Fossils of these extinct water creatures have been found in border state Kansas. What did they look like? Experts say they had a Lochness monster-style appearance. While the Lochness is not real (allegedly!) we can all picture what it looks like.
- Whatcheeria - this one is awesome because it's named for the city in Iowa that it was located in. The Whatcheeria is named after What Cheer, Iowa which is in Keokuk County. Follis of the Whatcheeria was first discovered in 1995, is believed to be 340 million years old. Scientists, based on the fossils, think the Whatcheeria was a four-footed fish that despite having feet, spent most of its time in the water, only occasionally crawling on land. See a drawing of it here.
- Woolly Mammoth - An Oskaloosa farmer unearthed parts of a wooly mammoth skeleton in 2010. The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History says an entire mammoth femur was discovered. How large was it? Well, the knee joint of the femur is the size of a soccer ball.
So Iowa did, indeed, have some prehistoric action millions of years ago. While the next Jurrasic World flick isn't likely going to reference our state, there's still plenty of meat on the bone for prehistoric enthusiasts looking into Iowas history. Actually, the meat is long gone, but there are some bones.
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