This trail features seven types of animals that once lived in the area now known as Badlands National Park. Each of these lineages met a different fate as the climate changed. Some moved, some adapted to the changes, and some are now extinct. Walk the trail to learn their stories and discover how this place and it inhabitants have changed over the course of 75 million years.
As the climate changed, habitats changed. Many animals adapted to new environments. Early horses and dogs were flexible enough to survive in these new environments. These animals are each part of a lineage that evolved into modern horses and dogs.
Some animals moved to habitats that were more favorable. Tens of millions of years ago, members of the alligator family used to live all over North America, including here at what is now Badlands National Park. As the climate cooled and dried, their range shrank. Now they live in places like Florida.
Some animals could not adapt to the changing climates and habitats. Four of the groups exhibited along this trail, including the oredont, went extinct.