Academic journal article Social Education

"Furious and Formidable": A Lewis & Clark Bestiary

Academic journal article Social Education

"Furious and Formidable": A Lewis & Clark Bestiary

Article excerpt

To PRESIDENT THOMAS JEFFERSON, who sent Lewis and Clark on their adventure, the fauna (the animals) of the West were interesting for several reasons: They might have economic value, like the beaver, which provided luxurious pelts. They might be hazardous, like bears and wolves, which could attack livestock. Knowledge of the animals might be useful in establishing peaceful relations with Indians. (For example, at just one location, Clark calculated that Indians had stored about ten thousand pounds of dried salmon for the winter). All of these animals were of scientific interest-beautiful and curious creatures, many of which were unknown to biologists of the day.

Can you guess what animal is described in each paragraph below? Answers are on page 15.

1 On the Missouri River, near the beginning of their adventure, the Corps of Discovery encountered hundreds of these animals. Lewis, the chief scientist, found that he could pour five gallons of water into this animal's pouch.

2 Lewis described this animal as "white," although it just had a lighter coat than did its eastern cousins. He wrote that it was a "furious and formidable animal and will frequently pursue the hunter when [it is] wounded [with bullets]." Clark wrote that its tracks were "three times as large as a man's." (1)

3 This fleet animal, the fastest runner in America, has been clocked in modern times at 60 miles per hour. It has branching hollow horns that are shed every year. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.