NJ Discovery That Launched the Modern Age of Dinosaurs

Hadrosaurus foulkii sculpture in Haddonfield, NJ

Our current world of dinosaurs — in our media, our toys, our computer games, our food advertising, our natural history museums and a plethora of traveling mall and arena shows — traces its mother root to an 1858 discovery in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and the world’s first nearly complete dinosaur fossil ever found. In 1868, that fossil — Hadrosaurus foulkii — became the first dinosaur skeleton ever mounted for public display anywhere in the world. That historic exhibit occurred in what is now the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in downtown Philadelphia.

This historic fact — that the small east coast town of Haddonfield is the site of one of the most important paleontological findings in the history of the science — isn’t very well known. Helping to change that is a bronze statue of the dinosaur created by local sculptor John Giannotti. The massive piece sits at the center of the borough’s central commercial district.