Commemorates the Historic Discovery by William Parker Foulke
in Haddonfield, New Jersey, 1858
The 1858 find was the most complete dinosaur skeleton unearthed anywhere in the world up until that time. It was the first that included enough bones to reconstruct key points of the actual anatomy of a dinosaur. It profoundly changed our understanding of natural history.
In 1868, 26 years after dinosaurs had been recognized as a group of ancient animals, the world saw the first mounted dinosaur skeleton - Hadrosaurus Foulkii - in Philadelphia at the Academy of Natural Sciences. The scientific excitement generated by that exhibit directly triggered the "Bone Wars".
William Parker Foulke was visiting the Haddonfield home of John E. Hopkins in 1858 when he first heard that giant bones had been found in Hopkins' marl pit 20 years earlier. A member of the Philadelphia Academy, Foulke assembled a crew of diggers who excavated 40 bones, 9 teeth and a small quantity of miscellaneous fragments from the pit. These fossils are stored at the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia.
He also brought in Academy curator Dr. Joseph Leidy who identified the bones and sketched the first anatomical drawing of a real dinosaur.
The Hadrosaurus foulkii became the official state dinosaur of New Jersey in 1991.
Hadrosaurs foulkii lived nearly 80 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous era. A vegetarian, it was a member of the duck-billed family of dinosaurs that lived in herds and are believed to have cared for their young long after they hatched from eggs.
New Jersey Marl
The fossil was found in the marl beds that run through the southern half of the state. Marl is a dense, mineral-rich, clay-like substance that was once the bottom of an ancient sea.