Why Does the U.S. Army Own So Many Fossils?

Sabrina Imbler at Atlas Obscura:

Rather unintentionally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns an enormous collection of fossils that would turn any paleontologist green with envy. “The U.S. Army Corps has collections that span the paleontological record,” says Nancy Brighton, a supervisory archaeologist for the Corps. “Basically anything related to animals and the natural world before humans came onto the scene.” The Corps never set out to amass this prehistoric tome. Rather, the fossils—from trilobites to dinosaurs, and everything in between—came as a kind of byproduct of the Corps’s actual, more logistical purpose: flood control (among other large-scale civil engineering projects).

The agency was created during the Revolutionary War, according to the Corps’s site. General George Washington had just ordered one of his colonels to build fortifications at Bunker Hill when the Continental Congress realized the task was impossible, as they did not actually employ any engineers trained in military fortifications.

more here.