The Jurassic Roadshow Blog

Welcome to the new, improved, revamped Jurassic Roadshow web site and blog. Although this was originally posted in February 2014, the site is again under active revision in August 2017, so please bear with us if we are still moving things around and perhaps changing the aesthetic here and there. The blog will meander around topics related to Jurassic Roadshow and the Impressions from a Lost World website. In the latter, there was so much interesting material that there wasn’t time or space to get onto the main website that it seems a shame to let it languish unused, so I hope it can find a home here.

Jurassic Roadshow includes professional paleontologists and amateur collectors, professional historians and amateur historians, professional artists, craftsmen, and writers and amateurs in the arts. I am the person mostly responsible for this blog, and I’m one of the amateurs. I come at this topic from the perspective of a few classes in the history of science and a novice’s enthusiasm for fossils. I was one of the writers for the Impressions website.

Impressions from a Lost World is a large, intricately knit site about Edward and Orra White Hitchcock and the 19th-century discovery of dinosaur footprints in the Connecticut River Valley. The website was launched on June 30, 2017. Six stories and seven thematic essays give the site coherence, but you can actually approach the content in a number of ways: through brief introductions to the people involved; artifacts; original documents that let you see the history for yourself; background information on the historical circumstances of the discovery and the state of geological science at the time; videos, slideshows, and interactive activities about paleontology; and even a map that helps you plan a dinosaur-footprint-focused trip to the region.

Like many people, I love looking at fossils. They are beautiful and give me a sense of profound connection to the past—but I don’t really know how to read them. What kind of environment did each creature live in? What did they look like when they were alive? Which ones came first? How do they fit into the history of life on the planet? And just as interesting to me, who first studied them? What did people of the past think about them? I’m learning, and will use this blog to share what I learn, in hopes that other amateurs will find it engaging. At the least, it won’t be intimidating. My starting place is the fossil footprints of the Connecticut River Valley of western Massachusetts, where I live, but I’ll look at all kinds of things that I see in museums and geology fairs, too, and also what I read in books.

Although I’m not knowledgeable about geology, I have done more research into the history of the discovery of dinosaur tracks than most people, and on occasion have added to the small but quickly growing stock of knowledge about this fascinating story. It is a local history for me and others around me who are digging into the same patch. It’s become something of a cottage industry around here, the production of a local history of science and geology in a field that has not yet been thoroughly gone over. It’s exciting to see all the new scholarship, so a part of this blog will be devoted to bringing what I hope is an increasingly clear and more detailed picture of this past to your attention. Please feel free to comment or ask questions if the spirit moves you.

Thank you for looking at this page, and I hope you will take a look around at the rest of the site while you are here.

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Jurassic Roadshow is a project of Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (Deerfield), funded in part by a John and Abigail Adams Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

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