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Re: Holyoke, Mass. Footprints

Steve Brusatte wrote:

> Hey gang,
> I'll be leaving for my East Coast trip in about 24 hours, and just came 
> across some interesting information on a new dinosaur tracksite discovery in 
> Holyoke, Massachusetts.
> Apparently these tracks were discovered by a man fishing in his backyard, 
> which was directly across from the Holyoke Community College (which displays 
> a nice collection, I am told).
> Does anyone know of these tracks??  Have they been scientifically described 
> yet?  I hate to bring this up, but there was a mention of them possibly being 
> sold to pay some bills at Holyoke Community College and for the landowner.  
> Does anyone know if this possibly happened?
> And, I have also read about a track site discovery (Coelophysis, et al.) 
> during the construction of Rt. 91.  This site is apparently located near the 
> Mt. Toms Ski Resort, near Holyoke, just off of Connecticut Route 5.  Does 
> anyone know if this track site still exists?
> The article I read was from the mid 80's, and the author said that the tracks 
> were going to remain in the rock and not be excavated.  But, a lot can change 
> in 15 years :-)
> In short, anyone with knowledge of the Holyoke area, could you please respond 
> to me and give me any further information.  I would love to visit the city, 
> and photograph the footprints for my upcoming paper on the paleontology of 
> New England and Quebec.
> Thanks again!
> Steve

   Hey, Steve.  If you are talking about Gary Gaulin, I have been working up 
that site on and off for about 2 years now (it has been way on the back 
burner...).  If it is the same site, then it is true that Gary has been selling 
some of the footprints to pay his bills.
However, considering that these are rather poorly preserved grallatorid 
footprints, which are a dime a thousand in the area, and that we are getting as 
much data as we can from the tracks before they are removed, I wouldn't get too 
too bent about it.  As far as the fishing
goes, Gary was actually digging a hole to put in a fish pond, when he hit the 
    There is also a track site at Mt. Tom in Northampton, which might be the 
other site you describe.  John Ostrom of Yale did a paper on the site in 1970 
and I did a preliminary description of the place in 1995.  The place is 
littered with poorly preserved _Grallator_ and
_Eubrontes_ footprints, but not _Coelophysis_ (as _Coelophysis_ is a body 
fossil taxon and not a footprint taxon, there really isn't any such thing as a 
"_Coelophysis_ footprint." per sey.  However, it is possible that a theropod 
like _Coelophysis_ made some of the
_Grallator_ or grallatorid track types).  The Mt. Tom site is very pretty 
(right on the CT. River) and was a beautiful place to work in October, but the 
tracks have been washed by the river for many years and by people feet as well 
and are not in such great condition...  In
fact, the reason I was playing around with the place is so that there would be 
a formal description somewhere on file, because we are losing it.
    If you wish, I can give you Gary's email (I have his phone number 
somewhere...).  I certainly have no problem with you photographing the site.  I 
can also email you some photos of the sites, so you can get an idea if these 
two places are the ones you are thinking of and
are worth your time...


Josh Smith
Department of Earth and Environmental Science
University of Pennsylvania
471 Hayden Hall
240 South 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA  19104-6316
(215) 898-5630 (Office)
(215) 898-0964 (FAX)