First fossil dinosaur tracks, 1802

First fossil dinosaur tracks, 1802

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: First fossil dinosaur tracks. Illustration of the first fossil dinosaur tracks, discovered in 1802 by a farm boy named Pliny Moody in South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA. Moody helped prepare the sketches for this lithograph. This copy of the illustration is from 'Ichnology of New England: A Report on the Sandstone of the Connecticut Valley, especially its Fossil Footmarks' (1858) by US geologist Edward Hitchcock (1793-1864), state geologist of Massachusetts, and President of Amherst College. Hitchcock's book describes a collection of fossil dinosaur tracks he assembled between 1836 and 1865, mostly from the Connecticut River Valley. This is the world's largest collection of dinosaur tracks. Hitchcock believed he was finding the tracks of giant birds, but in the year this book was published Joseph Leidy discovered the first evidence of bipedal dinosaurs, and the tracks were re-assessed.

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