Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/129

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125
FLORISSANT; A MIOCENE POMPEII

comparable Prodryas persephone. During the same season we secured a second butterfly, much larger, but very poorly preserved.

When the fine butterfly was discovered, it was naturally expected that the new locality would yield other like treasures. Alas! it was worked all one day, with practically no result. Such are the fortunes of fossil hunting. While the first season yielded no butterfly, it did produce a wonderfully preserved caterpillar, still showing the bristles it bore in life. It is not the usual custom to describe a lepidopterous insect from the caterpillar alone; but in this case we had no option, since it could not be ignored, and it certainly could not be raised to maturity! Its characters were peculiar, so that it did not fit comfortably into any modern family, so far as we were able to judge.

 

PSM V73 D129 Fossil neuropterous insect halter americana.png

Fossil Neuropterous Insect (Halter americana) of a Family not now found in North America. (Much enlarged.)

 

Among the plants, one great treasure was a branch of the narrow leafed cottonwood, with about ten leaves upon it. Although the leaves of this tree are exceedingly common in the shale, such a magnificent specimen is very rarely obtained. During the second season another nearly as good was found; we packed it up with the greatest care, and sent it by express to Yale University Museum, where it arrived in safety.

The large specimens, however, are not necessarily the most valuable. One small but unique object was a tuft of moss, with the fruiting bodies upon it. This was the first really recognizable moss ever found