Idaho’s Fossil Record Reveals Prehistoric Creatures and Climate

In Prehistoric Idaho, Idaho Public Television’s original series Outdoor Idaho looks back at what the Gem State was like hundreds of millions of years ago by turning to its fossil record. Whether it’s the ever-changing landscape and climate or the now-extinct animals that once roamed the area, Prehistoric Idaho has something for everyone.

We look at dinosaurs found in the state and what makes Idaho’s soil and caves unique for fossil preservation. Once much more humid, and even under water at one point, Idaho was home to creatures such as unique buzzsaw sharks and dire wolves.

This show takes you on a journey, demonstrating an Idaho that once had a giant, 11-foot-tall gigantoraptor dinosaur and a 13-foot Columbian mammoth. These creatures lived in Idaho throughout various periods of time and the fossils left behind serve as the evidence.

Idaho’s fossil record can teach us about what these animals ate, how they lived and how they died.

The fossils found in Idaho teach us about what the Earth used to look like and offer insight into why these prehistoric animals are now extinct. The fossils teach us about the past ecology of the state and how we got to where we are today.

Fossils in Idaho help humans study the trajectory of the Earth and what we can expect in the future. That’s vital for scientists to understand as environmentalists plan moving forward.

“Producing this episode was a wild lesson in the Earth’s history,” says producer Ruth Brown. “We humans sometimes forget we’ve only been around for a short amount of time. The show demonstrates some of the amazing creatures that once roamed what is now Idaho and the vast changes to the area’s environment and landscape over hundreds of millions of years.”

Prehistoric Idaho airs May 11 at 8 PM and again May 14 at 7 PM on Idaho Public Television. It will be available for streaming online and through the PBS app.

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