New Jersey State Dinosaur
Duck-Billed Dinosaur (common name)
Hadrosaurus foulkii (scientific name)
Official State Dinosaur of New Jersey
Hadrosaurus foulkii was a duck-billed dinosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period, about 70 to 100 million years ago. Duck-billed dinosaurs, or hadrosaurids, were common in Cretaceous North America, Europe, and Asia. A dinosaur of the genus Hadrosauruswas the first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton ever found, a mid 19th-century discovery that launched the study of North American paleontology.
New Jersey does not have an official state fossil, but it is one of the few states to have an official dinosaur. Based on a proposal by students at Strawbridge Elementary School in Haddon Township, New Jersey, Hadrosaurus foulkii was designated the official state dinosaur on June 13, 1991.
The genus name Hadrosaurus comes from the Greek words αδρος (hadros) and σαύρος (sauros) meaning "rough lizard" or "rugged lizard." The species was named for William Parker Foulke, who discovered the first skeleton of this dinosaur in 1858. Paleontologist Joseph Leidy named the dinosaur in the same year. The nameHadrosaurus foulkii is considered a nomen dubium, or a scientific name that is of unknown or doubtful application, because the skeleton lacks a skull.
This dinosaur inhabited the forests, swamps, and riverbanks along the seacoast of what is now New Jersey. Hadrosaurus foulkii was mainly quadrupedal and sometimes bipedal. It was about 25 feet (7.6 m) long, 10 feet (3 m) high, and up to 8 tons (7,260 kg) in weight. This large herbivore had strong, blunt teeth, essential for eating leaves, twigs, and seeds.
Living at the end of the Cretaceous period, Hadrosaurus foulkiibecame extinct with the mass extinction of plants and animals that took place 65 million years ago. This extinction marked the end of the Cretaceous period and the beginning of the Tertiary period, as well as the transition from the Mesozoic era to the Cenozoic era. It is not known exactly what caused this extinction, but global climate or sea level changes, one or more asteroids, increased volcanic activity, or a combination of these factors are theories.
In 1858, paleontologist William Parker Foulke discovered the first virtually complete dinosaur skeleton in Haddonfield, New Jersey, with the help of a team of hired workers. Ten years later, the assembled skeleton became the first mounted dinosaur skeleton. It was displayed at the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences from the 1870s to the 1940s and a cast of the skeleton was exhibited there from November 2008 until April 2009. A replica of the skeleton is on display at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton.
In 1876, the Hadrosaurus foulkii skeleton was displayed at the U.S. Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. Copies were once exhibited at the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
The discovery of Hadrosaurus foulkii in Haddonfield, New Jersey, is commemorated in two ways. Haddonfield resident John Giannotti created a sculpture that stands in the middle of town, and a plaque marks the spot as a National Historical Landmark.
Click to enlarge an image
|Author: World Trade Press|