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James Deane in Greenfield, Mass.

I have been following the interesting conversation on James Deane, and would 
like to offer a tidbit of information I came across while researching the 
history of exploration in the Connecticut Valley.

The first dinosaur tracks were found in 1802 by Pliny Moody in South Hadley, 
Mass, but the next significant discovery was made in 1835 in Greenfield, 
Massachusetts.  During a street paving project, town residents noticed "turkey 
tracks" on sandstone slabs quarried from nearby Turners Falls, Mass.  These 
prints were brought to the attention of James Deane, who later wrote (in 1861), 
"(I) recognized in their mute teachings the sublime indications of an Almighty 
hand (and) entered upon the investigation of the whole subject."

After learning about these tracks, Deane wrote a letter to Hitchcock.  In 
response to Deane's description and plaster casts of the prints, Hitchcock went 
to the site and later wrote, "no facts in my life are more vividly impressed 
upon my memory than those relating to the footmarks.  As soon as I saw the 
specimens, I perceived the phenomena worthy of careful research."

Later Hitchcock wrote that these specimens drew him to his "life's work," which 
was studying fossil prints, and that these prints almost single handedly led to 
the science of ichnology.  Deane, on the other hand, seemed to be bitter that 
Hitchcock was getting much of the "press" regarding these tracks and was also 
getting more papers published.  So, beginning in 1843 Deane began presenting 
his research to the American Journal of Science.


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