Although Kansas is now high and dry in the middle of the North American continent, at one time the state and most of the Midwest lay under water. In fact, Kansas has been below sea level for much longer than it has been above it. When the land rose during the final years of the Late Cretaceous, the geologic record preserved evidence of a succession of oceans in the sedimentary rock that now covers the Great Plains.
Oceans of Kansas reveals a world in which giant sharks, marine reptiles, soaring pteranodons, and much more flourished in and around a shallow sea in the middle of North America. The abundant and well-preserved remains of these prehistoric animals were the source of great excitement in the scientific community of the day when first discovered in the 1860s in deposits known as the Smoky Hill Chalk. Two of the best-known bone hunters of the time, E. D. Cope and O. C. Marsh, competed vigorously to recover beautiful specimens from this remarkable fossil record. During the past 140 years, thousands have been collected and sent to museums around the world.
Michael J. Everhart tells the fascinating story of this discovery, recreates the beasts and the world in which they lived, and presents the fruits of the latest research into the natural history of America's ancient inland sea.