In “Lawmen: Bass Reeves,” the sixth episode of Paramount+’s Western series, Bass Reeves and Texas ranger Esau Pierce, a former Confederate soldier, discuss the massive bones he found at his property. Pierce claims that the bones are from “giants” and “monsters.” He says that in Texas, they go by the name Angel Bones, also known as Huesos de Angeles. Pierce discusses the same topics to demonstrate his understanding of what monsters among humans are, but his remarks also highlight the state’s rich paleontological past—it was previously home to some of the largest animals in recorded human history!
The Ancient Past of Texas
One of the states that can claim undeniable relevance in terms of prehistoric fossils is Texas. The remnants of various enormous species that once roamed the state have been discovered by geologists and paleontologists over the years. Mammoths and dinosaurs are among the species. But none of these remnants are from creatures that resemble humans. Furthermore, it’s unclear if these were known in the nineteenth century as Huesos de Angeles, also known as Angel Bones. Whatever these animals were or are called, if Pierce is speaking of their remains, then they exist.
Around twenty-one dinosaur fossils have been discovered in Texas, according to authorities. Once, a number of these animals called West Texas’ Big Bend National Park home. A University of Texas at Dallas graduate student found the bones of the sauropod dinosaur alamosaurus in the area. Then, an adult alamosaurus that measured around 100 feet in length had its fragmentary pelvic bones and ten articulated cervical vertebrae excavated by paleontologists. For study, the fossil was moved to the Dallas Museum of Natural History.
In a similar vein, the largest herbivore of the Ice Age, the Columbian mammoth, called the national park home. In terms of recent discoveries, researchers at The University of Texas in Austin found bone pieces in the Malone Mountains of West Texas that belonged to an extinct marine reptile called a plesiosaur. By showcasing fossils and other remains of these animals, museums all over the state—from the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas to the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg—help illuminate the state’s past.
In the show, Pierce discusses these fossils with Bass in order to inform him that he sleeps on the carcasses of these creatures. The Texas Ranger attempts to convey to the deputy marshal his brutality and fearlessness through his comments.
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