want to share my family history with you, since my great,
great, great-grandfather is pretty famous. I am just one
descendent of the Hadrosaurus Foulkii family. William Parker
Foulke, a paleontologist (dinosaur scientist) from the
Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, discovered
the first Hadrosaurus dinosaur many, many years ago in
1858. He found dinosaur fossils (bones) in a marl pit on
a farm in Haddonfield, New Jersey (what I like to think
of as the birthplace of my family). Not only was this the
first dinosaur to be found in the United States, but it
was also the first and most complete dinosaur skeleton
to be put on display anywhere in the world! Pretty impressive,
display was made public in the Academy of Natural Sciences
of Philadelphia. Scientists from all over the world came
to see my great, great, great-grandfather. This led to
thousands of people visiting the Academy, and interest
in dinosaurs grew very quickly. A replica of his skeleton
is also on display in the NJ State Museum in Trenton, New
a video of Ned Gilmore from the Philadelphia Academy
of Natural Sciences showing the actual bones (requires
Real Player plugin).
1858, scientists knew about large fossils and were aware
that some type of large creature once existed, but they
did not have enough fossils to form a skeleton. So the
discovery in Haddonfield opened the door to paleontology.
show that the first Hadrosaurus was an amphibious creature,
living around the river's edge or around swamps. At that
time, the climate in New Jersey was tropical- very hot
and very humid all year long. I don't consider myself amphibious,
although you can find me at the Jersey shore all summer
long, catching some rays for a nice tan!
Foulkii is Latin for "Foulke's bulky lizard." Bulky?
Humph! I prefer to describe us as well-rounded! We dinosaurs
just like to eat!
let me continue telling you about my family history. Since
my great, great, great-grandfather was found in Haddonfield,
my family decided that this was the place to live and raise
little dinos. We had roots (and fossils) here. I wouldn't
want to have been born anywhere else! My greatest memories
from childhood took place here. I just love this town.
was made an honorary citizen in 1971 and was given the
key to the city by Mayor Eugene Hinski and seven-year-old
town resident Jean Wolfe in a ceremony at the Philadelphia
Zoo. I think my great, great, great-grandfather would have
1991, a bill requested by the 4th grade class at Haddon
Township's Strawbridge Elementary School was approved,
making the Hadrosaurus Foulkii New Jersey's official state
guess you can say that I have an exciting and unique family
history. I feel lucky to be a descendant of such an important
dinosaur. But I feel even luckier to be able to teach you
about the first Hadrosaurus Foulkii dinosaur and to share
with you all that I've learned about the world and New
you'd like to learn more about me or other New Jersey dinosaurs,
an excellent book is When Dinosaurs Roamed New Jersey by
William B. Gallagher, Rutgers University Press, 1997. It's
great for Middle School kids and above. It should be available
at your local library, or if you would like to order a
hard cover or paperback copy, ask your local bookstore.
Dr. Gallagher, the book's author, is the registrar of natural
history at the New Jersey State Museum and a visiting speaker
in dinosaur paleontology at Rutgers University. If you'd
like to learn more about my family, explore the Hadrosaurus
Foulki Web site.