Two Dinosaur Species Have Been Excavated in Massachusetts
As the SouthCoast settles down from recent bear sightings, it might be a good time to tell you about the dinosaurs that used to roam what are now the highways and byways of pre-historic Massachusetts.
Smithsonian Magazine says that while there may have been others, "only two dinosaur species have been excavated in Massachusetts: Podokesaurus holyokensis and Anchisauris polyzelus."
Massachusetts lawmakers declared Podokesaurus holyokensis the "official state dinosaur" in February of 2021, according to MassLive.com.
The site says, "After 35,000 total votes were cast in an online poll, the dinosaur was crowned the winner in a virtual event hosted by the Museum of Science on February 4," 2021.
Smithsonian Magazine says Podokesaurus holyokensis was a "mid-Jurassic-era dino with a 'light and delicate frame' that likely weighed in at 90 pounds and measured about three to six feet in length."
The geologist Mignon Talbot discovered the first fossil near Mt. Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1910. The full name Podokesaurus holyokensis can be translated as "swift-footed lizard of Holyoke."
The fossil is believed to be between 201 and 190 million years old.
Anchisauris polyzelus remains, believed to be between 200 and 195 million years old, were discovered in East Windsor, Connecticut, in 1818 by Solomon Ellsworth Jr. while excavating a well.
Thirty-seven years later, in 1855, William Smith discovered another Anchisauris polyzelus fossil while blasting for a water house for an armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. In both cases, the fossils were damaged by the blasting.
Anchisauris polyzelus was a smaller dinosaur, perhaps six and a half feet long and weighing about 60 pounds.
Anchisaurus by Nobu Tamura / CC BY-SA 3.0 (Podokesaurus added in)
Podokesaurus restoration by FunkMonk / CC BY-SA 3.0 (Added into Anchisaurus photo)