strange behaviors

Cool doings from the natural and human worlds

  • Richard Conniff writes about behavior, in humans and other animals, on two, four, six, and eight legs, plus the occasional slither.

  • Categories

  • Wall of the Dead

The Species Seekers Quiz: Inside Jefferson’s White House

Posted by Richard Conniff on January 12, 2012

What did Thomas Jefferson keep in the East Room of the White House?

1.  A collection of mastodon bones.

2.  Silver crafted by Paul Revere.

3.  The largest library of natural history books in North America.

4.  A conference table made of petrified wood.

And the answer is

A collection of mastodon bones.

Jefferson sent off a letter, carried by Daniel Boone, to his friend George Rogers Clark, commander of the Army of the West, asking him to collect specimens from Big Bone Lick, a sulphur-smelling patch of marsh near the Ohio River in Kentucky.  The first —and only successful— shipment from Clark arrived at the White House in March of 1808.  Jefferson had these fossils spread out in a large otherwise unused room that later would become known as the East Room.  (It was a step up from John and Abigail Adams, who had hung their laundry there.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s