When Dinosaurs Roamed New Jersey

William B. Gallagher, Author
William B. Gallagher, Author Rutgers University Press $0 (176p) ISBN 978-0-8135-2348-4
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 04/01/1997
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When thinking about dinosaurs in America, most readers will think of the Southwest, of Dinosaur National Monument and other arid Western preserves. But Gallagher, the registrar of natural history at the New Jersey State Museum, disputes that with his concise yet thorough account of New Jersey's rich, unrecognized history of dinosaur paleontology. He begins 543 million years ago, then delves into each era, charts the changes in geology and explains their impact on natural history. In 1787, some 50 years before the term dinosaur was coined, Benjamin Franklin inspected the first dinosaur bone found in America--that of the left foot of a duckbill discovered in Woodbury, N.J. In 1858, researchers William Foulke and Joseph Leidy reported on the first partial skeleton of a dinosaur found in the world, in Haddonfield, which gave researchers their earliest clear idea of dinosaur anatomy and became an important element in the debates over evolution. Gallagher is particularly informative on amber deposits from the Mesozoic era, which have yielded the oldest known fossil bees, some of the oldest known ants and a variety of complete insects and partial bird feathers. For teachers and students of natural history, or even those just interested in New Jerseyana or dinosaur lore, Gallagher's book is a fascinating, accessible reminder that dinosaurs really did roam the earth--even Newark. (Apr.)
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