[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Feduccia's delusion

In a message dated 11/30/01 6:44:10 PM EST, david.marjanovic@gmx.at writes:

<< Why? AFAIK Huxley (or someone else at his time) was the earliest and didn't
 regard *Compsognathus*, leave alone *Megalosaurus*, as a bird? >>

Dinosaur trackways discovered in 1802 in the Connecticut Valley were called 
the footprints of Noah's raven. These predate Huxley (and even Megalosaurus) 
by many years. Here is quote from my BCF article in Dino Press #4:

"The concept of dinosaurs as giant, ground-dwelling birds extends 
historically back to at least the year 1802, well before the publication of 
the first scientific description of a dinosaur (Megalosaurus, by the Reverend 
William Buckland in 1824) and the recognition of Dinosauria as a distinct 
"sub-order of reptiles" (by Sir Richard Owen in April 1842). In the spring of 
1802, fossil dinosaur tracks were discovered in a Late Triassic red sandstone 
slab in the Connecticut Valley near South Hadley, Massachusetts by a farm boy 
named Pliny Moody. Naturalists from Harvard and Yale Universities dubbed 
these the tracks of "Noah's Raven" despite their large size. Aside from a few 
newspaper reports, however, the discovery remained unpublished until 1836, 
when American geologist Edward B. Hitchcock produced the first of a series of 
works on Massachusetts fossil footprints. By then, more fossil dinosaur 
footprints had turned up in the Connecticut Valley. The title of Hitchcock's 
first paper, "Ornithichnology: Description of the Footmarks of Birds 
(Ornithichnites) on New Red Sandstone in Massachusetts," telegraphed his view 
of the nature of these fossils. Over the next two and a half decades, he 
wrote a string of papers and monographs describing, redescribing, naming, and 
renaming the Connecticut Valley tracks, making them his life's work. He 
visualized the Late Triassic Connecticut Valley fauna as comprising 
flightless birds of numerous shapes and sizes, somewhat resembling ostriches 
and moas, striding across the landscape. His son, Charles H. Hitchcock, 
continued his father's work, although perhaps not quite so zealously, into 
the fourth quarter of the 19th century, and Richard Swann Lull of Yale 
carried on studying the Massachusetts dinosaur footprints well into the 20th 
century. Quite a few of the footprints that Hitchcock studied are preserved 
on slabs in the Pratt Museum of Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts. 
Although the nature of dinosaurs became fairly clear during Hitchcock's 
lifetime, he never abandoned the idea that the Triassic footprints were 
traces left by birds."