Click on any image to enlarge     Postcards from the badlands:  [above left] An almost vertical mud tower, several hundred feet high  [top right] A tiny fossil mammal jaw — probably belonging to an Oligocene mouse — is barely visible against the cracked mud. The tip of a hand tool (bottom center) shows scale  [center right] This "green and pleasant" valley was home to a large rattlesnake with whom Steve Balliet had a close encounter. Tom recalled encountering a rattlesnake in the same spot, on a previous expedition  [bottom right] Mud pillars sculpted by wind and water erosion. The sharp-eyed paleontologist can often find fossil bones and teeth protruding from the sides of these alien-looking features.

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