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Re: Hadrosaurus (long)



In a message dated 95-11-10 21:22:03 EST, kferrant@njlink.pppl.gov (Ken
Ferrante) writes:

>Anyone care to respond (and clarify) in language that can be presented to
7th
>& 8th grade
>students who care more about scientific facts than in (possible) dubious
>claims to the "first dino-find in the states". 
>
>

First, here is an excerpt from my recent article for Gakken on the history of
ornithopod discoveries:


        The most important North American dinosaur discovery from before the
"dinosaur rush" days of the 1870s and 1880s occurred not out west but in a
marl pit on the farm of John E. Hopkins in Haddonfield, Camden County, New
Jersey. William Parker Foulke of Philadelphia--a member of the Academy of
Natural Sciences of that city--while vacationing at his neighboring farm in
the summer of 1858, learned of fossilized vertebrae of a large reptile that
had been exhumed in the late 1830s from Hopkins's land, when Hopkins was
still a youth. The bones had been distributed among souvenir-hunters and
were, unfortunately, unavailable. Wondering whether more remains might be
discovered, Foulke persuaded Hopkins to relocate the old quarry, since filled
in, and to set a group of diggers to work where the skeleton had allegedly
been found. (Also in on the dig was Dr. John H. Slack, a fellow Academician;
and both Leidy and Isaac Lea, another well-known fossil-collector, visited
the site.)
        About 3 meters below the surface of a ravine leading into a rivulet 
known
locally as Cooper's Creek, they struck bones, evidently remnants of the old
skeleton. This locality lies in the Woodbury Formation (Campanian, Upper
Cretaceous). When the excavation terminated in October 1858, the find
comprised 9 teeth, a lower jaw fragment, 28 vertebrae (most missing their
neural arches and processes), a humerus, a radius, an ulna, an ilium, a
pubis, a femur, a tibia, a fibula, two metatarsals, and a pedal phalanx
(Figure 11). This material is presently at the Academy of Natural Sciences,
catalogued as ANSP 10005, though some of the bones were previously given
individual numbers.
        Foulke and Leidy announced the discovery at the December 14, 1858 
meeting of
the Academy of Natural Sciences, the proceedings of which were published in
early 1859. Leidy named the creature Hadrosaurus foulkii ("Foulke's stout
lizard"). Its dense bones, colored ebony-black by iron compounds, generated
considerable excitement, since they represented the first decent dinosaur
skeleton ever found in the United States, and one of the best found anywhere
to that time: Only the Maidstone Iguanodon and Mantell's Hylaeosaurus were
comparably complete. Leidy showed that Hadrosaurus was closely related to
Iguanodon, and the great size disparity between the fore and hind limbs
strongly suggested that both Hadrosaurus and Iguanodon were bipedal and
kangaroo-like or birdlike in stance, not quadrupedal as in Owen and Hawkins's
restorations. Leidy estimated the length of Hadrosaurus foulkii as 25 feet
(about 8 meters), and he also noted but did not describe a few bones of "much
larger" Hadrosaurus individuals already in the Academy collection.
        The Hadrosaurus foulkii bones were initially exhibited in a 
disarticulated
state at the Broad Street museum of the Academy in Philadelphia, but by late
1868 Cope reported that they had been "erected in the Museum of the Academy
of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, so as to give an idea of the animal's
proportions," indicating that they had been rearticulated for display. This
made the Academy's Hadrosaurus the first mounted dinosaur skeleton in the
world. And the man who mounted it was none other than Benjamin Waterhouse
Hawkins, creator of the Crystal Palace sculptures in London a decade and a
half before. Since the skeleton lacked a skull (only the lower jaw fragment
exists), Hawkins plastered together a scaled-up lizardlike cranium for his
mount. Posed bipedally, as per Leidy's recommendation, as if rearing up into
a tree, the skeleton, officially presented to the Academy on November 21,
1868, stood well over 3 meters high and remained an imposing feature of the
Academy's museum for many decades. Over the next few years, the fossilized
bones in the mount were replaced by plaster casts, because exposure to the
air was chemically damaging the fossils ("pyrite disease"). Plaster copies of
the skeleton were made for several museums, but none has survived.
Photographs of it still exist, however, including stereoscopic pairs that
give a good sense of the skeleton's shape. The stereo pairs were reproduced
in an excellent article on Hawkins and his dinosaurs by Richard C. Ryder in
the November 1986 volume of The Mosasaur. Most interestingly, the pelvis was
reconstructed with the ilia mounted backward, so that the left ilium was on
the right side with its anterior process pointing toward the tail, and
likewise the right ilium. The pubes were mounted as scapulae, and the ischia
as clavicles. The skeleton was dismantled during World War II, but the
peculiar head and casts of some of the postcranial portions are still on
public display at the Academy museum.
        Hawkins had arrived in New York City in March 1868 as a popular 
lecturer on
paleontology. On May 2, the city approached him by letter with the idea of
building a huge "Paleozoic Museum" in Central Park populated with giant
reconstructed American dinosaur skeletons and life-size dinosaur sculptures.
Hawkins accepted the assignment on May 9. The research for this project
brought him to the Academy in Philadelphia, where he became sidetracked into
casting and mounting the reconstructed Hadrosaurus. It was Hawkins's
misfortune that New York was then under the thumb of a ring of rapacious
politicians led by William Marcy Tweed, the city's Democratic Party "boss."
During the several years that this bunch held office, they plundered the city
treasury of hundreds of millions of dollars. First they ousted the park's
comptroller, Andrew H. Green, who had initially offered Hawkins the museum
contract, to place their own man in the office. Then, seeing the Paleozoic
Museum as an unnecessary expense from which they would derive no profit, the
Tweed Ring just terminated the project. On May 3, 1871, they sent vandals to
smash Hawkins's partly completed models and casts with sledge hammers and
bury the fragments in the park.
        Disgruntled at this obnoxious display of American politics, Hawkins 
salvaged
what he could of his moulds and equipment and went to Princeton University
(then called the College of New Jersey), where he earned moderate fame for a
time as an illustrator of prehistoric life. Using the salvaged moulds, he
created replicas of the Hadrosaurus skeleton for Princeton, the Smithsonian
Institution, the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh (which thus became
Europe's first exhibitor of a dinosaur skeleton), and the 1876 Centennial
Exhibition in Philadelphia. He returned to England in 1879, but died in New
York in 1889.

.etc., etc., etc.

The thing to note is that the Hadrosaurus foulkii skeleton lacked a
skull--only some teeth and a lower-jaw fragment exist. Because the skeletons
of duckbilled dinosaurs are very similar, with individual variation swamping
any differences that might be noted between species, the skulls are crucial
to species identification. Without a skull, the Hadrosaurus skeleton cannot
be distinguished from skeletons later referred to such dinosaurs as
Gryposaurus, Saurolophus, Brachylophosaurus, Maiasaura, and so forth.
Although Hadrosaurus was easily distinguishable from other dinosaurs known at
the time it was described, making the type species Hadrosaurus foulkii valid
then, accumulating information about related species has rendered the
validity of the type species, and consequently the genus Hadrosaurus itself,
doubtful.

Indeed, Jack Horner, in his 1992 study of the duckbilled dinosaurs of
Montana, was unable to place Hadrosaurus into any of the subfamilies of
Hadrosauridae that he defined, because all are based on the skull characters
of their various included genera.

Anyway, that's the background on why Hadrosaurus is now a doubtful name.