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Travel in Western Massachusetts is always interesting. I grew up here, and still there are places to go that I haven't yet explored. Join the Davis' as we explored the dinosaurs of western Massachusetts. We became amateur paleontologists, hands lovingly feeling out dinosaur tracks as we tried to locate them all. In a little town called Holyoke, MA we began our adventure. It was here that we were able to walk with the dinosaurs literally.
The dinosaur track preservation sits on 8 acres of preserved land that the Trustees purchased in 1935. People visit the tracks every year, they are amazingly preserved on the banks of the Connecticut river. First discovered in 1836 by Edward Hitchcock, a professor at Amherst College. Hitchcock famously described the tracks:
"The largest numbers by far have been found at various localities in the general direction of Turner's Falls and South Hadley. In regard to the perfect preservation of such a vast number of geologically ancient animal tracks no district in the world is at all comparable with the Connecticut Valley ... In one case the writer is able to step, with a stride of about three and a half feet, in a series of eleven footprints, each about a foot long, exactly where a giant dinosaur left his foot print impressions on the original surface." Wikipedia
Western Ma is steeped in dinosaur tracks!
The tracks at the dino reserve provided a nice walk and exploration of local treasure. But, I kept wondering what kind of dinosaurs made these?
Pretty cool! The tracks were made by two legged carnivores, that were running through a tropical swamp at the time that they were created. After the trustees spot, we headed to the Springfield museum's dinosaur hall because they had an awesome dinosaur exhibit.
The dinosaur tracks are always being talked about , YANKEE magazine even commented on their discoveries. Umm....Pliny in the clip below thought that the prints were from Noah's missing raven!
"Young Pliny Moody dug an odd-looking rock out of his family’s field in 1802, he wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. It was pockmarked with three-toed impressions that looked like the scratchings of some ancient bird. The most likely answer, he reasoned, was that they must be the footprints of “Noah’s Raven,” a creature that had never returned after the great flood.
Such discoveries were not uncommon in the fields around Moody’s farm in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Every spring, farmers would harvest the fresh crop of rocks left by frost heaving, and every so often they’d find one marked with the unmistakable imprint of an animal track. The first person to take this local curiosity seriously was Edward Hitchcock, a science professor who arrived at Amherst College in 1825. He devoted his career to searching for the origin of these strange markings and, in the process, established the discipline of ichnology, the study of prehistoric prints. He’s remembered as one of the earliest paleontologists–so early, in fact, that his first paper on the prints was published in 1836, six years before the term dinosaur was even invented. He claimed that the tracks were made by giant prehistoric birds, which modern paleontology tells us isn’t far from the truth."
Yankee Magazine March/April 2011
We enjoyed exploring the trails of dinosaurs. We will definitely make another track there, and perhaps to Nash dinosaur tracks as well. Check it out!
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