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Connecticut Earth Symbols

Connecticut’s official state mineral is the almandine garnet. However, most people would probably consider its state dinosaur more exciting.

Connecticut: Earth SymbolsThe dinosaur Dilophosaurus and an almandine garnet, Connecticut’s official state mineral. (Dinosaur: By Heather Kyoht Luterman – Milner ARC, Harris JD, Lockley MG, Kirkland JI, Matthews NA (2009) Bird-Like Anatomy, Posture, and Behavior Revealed by an Early Jurassic Theropod Dinosaur Resting Trace. PLoS ONE 4(3): e4591. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004591, CC BY 2.5, link / Skull: Eden, Janine and Jim (link) CC BY 2.0link Note: I modified this image, erasing the background.)

In 1802, a teen-aged Pliny Moody made an exciting discovery on his family’s farm in South Hadley, Massachusetts. The farm was located in the Connecticut Valley, which extends into Connecticut.

What Hadley had apparently found were giant bird tracks. According to legend, Moody took one of the tracks home and used it as a door stop.

Many Americans were Christians who believed the legend of Noah’s ark, which saved all living things from a great flood. According to the Bible, Noah sent a raven to serve as a scout. A local doctor who saw Moody’s track thought it had been made by Noah’s raven.

A few decades later, people realized that the tracks had been made by creatures new to science: dinosaurs. More than a century later, Connecticut and Massachusetts both named the dinosaur track their state fossil.

Ironically, actual dinosaur fossils are very rare in New England. Without bones, scientists could only guess what kind of dinosaurs made the famous Connecticut Valley tracks.

Recently, evidence was found linking the tracks to Dilophosaurus. The dinosaur wasn’t familiar to most people until it appeared in the movie Jurassic Park. In 2017, Dilophosaurus was named Connecticut’s official state dinosaur.

Soil ˆ

Connecticut’s unofficial state soil is called Windsor.

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