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Big Bone Lick, Kentucky

During the 18th century, the principal source of the American monster's bones was a salt lick in the Ohio River valley, a landmark on the Kentucky frontier called Big Bone Lick.

Kentucky pioneers like Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark and John Filson were all involved in the collection of bones and speculation about the American monster's identity.

In the writings of John Filson and Thomas Jefferson, the bones discovered there became associated with the mythology of the frontier, particularly the idea of wilderness or wild nature, which helped to shape early views of prehistoric nature.

After the American Revolution, John Filson devoted several pages of his popular book The Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucke to the mysterious animal.

"How formidable an enemy to the human species," he wrote; "an animal as large as the elephant, the tyrant of the forests, perhaps the devourer of man!"

Over the years, many tons of bones were mined from the site. Thomas Jefferson made several attempts to obtain bones from the lick.

During the American Revolution, Jefferson asked George Rogers Clark, Commander of the Army of the West to send hm specimens from Big Bone Lick. His letter to Clark was delivered by Daniel Boone.

While President, Jefferson sent both Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to Big Bone Lick to obtain bones of the American monster.

Big Bone Lick was recently designated as an official
Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail Site.


READ American Monster

Discover the lost history
of the nation's first prehistoric monster


© 2003 Paul Semonin

Today Big Bone Lick is
a charming state park
in Boone County, Kentucky,
20 miles south of Cincinnati.

Efforts to upgrade the park"s
facilities are underway as the
historical significance of the site
becomes more evident.


Big Bone Lick State Park
3380 Beaver Road
Union, KY 41091

Friends of Big Bone
11646 Lower River Road
Union, KY 41091

Lewis & Clark

Hyde Park