This arid desert wash 30 minutes north of Las Vegas was once a lush wetland, home to some of the most massive and unusual species ever to walk the continent.

For a quarter-million years, until about 7,000 years ago, prides of Ice Age lions and herds of bison roamed the area, as did gargantuan mammoths, dire wolves, saber tooth cats and ground sloths the size of small cars. Now this national monument preserves dense fossil beds with evidence of these creatures and others, and scientists continue to study the diverse paleontological resources at the site.

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