" " Big Bone Lick National Park Mark ManciniFor the Sage of Monticello, science was a patriotic pursuit. In lieu of live specimens, Lewis sent the president a couple of new mastodon fossils from Big Bone Lick. In 1960, the Big Bone Lick fossil site was incorporated into a new state park. At the entrance, visitors are greeted by a sign that reads "Big Bone Lick Historic Site: Birthplace of American Vertebrate Paleontology." Now That's Interesting The American mastodon was named Michigan's official state fossil in 2002 because its remains are common in the Lower Peninsula.