Hadrosaurus (Greek:sturdy lizard) is a hadrosaurid dinosaur genus. In 1858, a skeleton of a dinosaur from this genus was the first full dinosaur skeleton found in North America, and in 1868 it became the first ever mounted dinosaur skeleton. more...
Hadrosaurus foulkii is the only species in this genus, and as of 1991 is the official state dinosaur of New Jersey - a decision brought about by a local teacher, Joyce Berry.
Hadrosaurus lived on the coast of what is now New Jersey, U.S.A., in the late Cretaceous period - around 80 million years ago. Most sources agree that it had a length of 7m to 10m, a height of 3m, a weight of around 7 tonnes. It was likely bipedal for the purposes of running, but could use its forelegs to support itself while grazing - like all hadrosaurids, Hadrosaurus was herbivorous. Its teeth suggest it ate twigs and leaves.
In 1838, William Estaugh Hopkins was digging in a marl pit when he uncovered large bones. He had the bones on display at his home, Birdwood in Haddonfield, New Jersey. In 1858 these bones sparked the interest of a visitor, William Parker Foulke. The skeleton was dug out from the marl pit in 1858 by Foulke. In the same year, the species was named by paleontologist Joseph Leidy in the same year, from an almost complete set of limbs, along with a pelvis, several part of the feet, twenty-eight vertebrae (including eighteen from the tail), eight teeth and two small parts of the jaw. Leidy recognised that these bones were from a dinosaur by their similarity to those of the Iguanadon, discovered in England some decades before, but the skeleton of Hadrosaurus was far more complete and was at the time the most complete dinosaur skeleton known. Leidy's monograph Cretaceous Reptiles of the United States, describing Hadrosaurus more completely and with illustrations, was written in 1860 but the American Civil War delayed its publication until 1865. Leidy reconstructed Hadrosaurus as a biped, in contrast to the view at the time that such dinosaurs were quadrupedal. The entire skeleton was completely assembled in 1868 by a team including English sculptor and naturalist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and was put on display at Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, where it remains available for public viewing.
Despite the fact that the family Hadrosauridae is named after this genus, there is no skull known. The skeleton is indistinguishable from that of other hadrosaurins.
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