Rocky Hill is Site to One of the Most Significant Dinosaur Fossil Finds in U.S. History
Every Tuesday morning on the our sister station, the Ethan and Lou Show on I-95, we do a feature called: "The Place You Live" featuring Mike Allen.
Mike is our former News Director, a fantastic storyteller and a tenacious researcher. Mike looks all around Connecticut and Putnam/Dutchess counties in NY to find true stories about the places we call home.
This week, we went back to a land before time and learned about the massive role CT has in Paleontology history.
Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT is a great place to learn and discover, but it was not put there arbitrarily. The Park was constructed right on top of where some of the world's best evidence of dinosaurs were found.
The Park may never have existed if not for a significant find by a man running an excavator in 1966. That man's name was Edward McCarthy who was operating a backhoe clearing ground for a new state building.
McCarthy unearthed tracks with three toes on gray sandstone and realized he should stop and get the attention of his supervisor.
What Ed had found was the tip of the iceberg, the first look at what would become the largest fossil track-way ever uncovered. It's since been surpassed, but the 2,000 dinosaur tracks were the most ever found in 1966 and remain one of the world's biggest to date.
The site was fenced off, the University of Connecticut was brought in to research the tracks and it was determined that this was very special. The State of CT moved quickly and the area was designated a National Natural Landmark.
They divided the track marks into two parts. The first was a section of about 500 tracks that were covered in a geodesic dome, the remaining 1,500 tracks were protected by being buried after they were insulated with 2 inches of polyurethane and thick tarps.
The tracks have been dated at around 200 million years old and came from the Dilophosaurus, a meat eating dinosaur that ranged from 18-23 feet in length and could run 20 miles per hour at maximum speed.
The 1,500 buried tracks are set aside for scientific research and will remain buried until proper funding is in place to properly study them.
Today, the 500 tracks, the model of the Dilophosaurus and wonderful displays can be seen at Dinosaur State Park at 400 West Street in Rocky Hill, CT. If you plan a visit please check their website or call ahead to see how COVID-19 may have altered accessibility or hours. Their phone number is (860)529-8423
This is the dome that covers the 500 tracks:
If a Dilophosaurus were to run from Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill to the Railway Museum in Danbury, it would take two hours.
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