One of the greatest scientific explorations of North America began in 1804 when President
Thomas Jefferson instructed Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to lead an expedition to explore
the unknown land to the west of the infant United States. By journey's end in 1806,
Lewis and Clark had recorded nearly 300 kinds of plants and animals that were new to science.
Each description of an animal on this site is the first mention of that animal in the journals of Lewis and Clark.
The descriptions you will read here are quotes from 200 years ago, when animals that seem familiar
to us now—like pelicans, porcupines, and coyotes—were still unknown to science! 

Click here to read Lewis & Clark's descriptions of the animals they discovered!

© Carnegie Museum of Natural History