Description of the Footmarks of Birds

on new Red Sandstone in Massachusetts


Edward Hitchcock
Amherst College


Extracted from:

The American Journal of Science and Arts Vol. XXIX #2, 1836.
Ornithichnology by Edward Hitchcock (Pages 307-340)
Vol. XXIX #2, 1836.

This electronic edition prepared by Dr. David C. Bossard
from original documents in his personal library.

September, 2007.

Copyright © 2007 by David C. Bossard.


307  308  309  310  311  312  313  314  315  316  317  318  319  320  321  322  323  324  325  326  327  328  329  330  331  332  333  334  335  336  337  338  339  340

[307] "The almost entire absence of birds from the organic remains found in the rocks, has been to geologists a matter of some surprise."

[309] I have ascertained the existence of [footmarks] in five places, near the banks of the Connecticut river. ... These impressions are exhibited on the rock in place, as depressions, more or less perfect and deep, made by an animal with two feet, and usually three toes. In a few instances, a fourth or hind toe, has made an impression, not directly in the rear but inclined somewhat inward; and in one instance, the four toes all point forward.

[312] The evidence is quite decisive, that these tracks were made before the rock was elevated to its present situation [30° dip - dcb]; that is, while it was horizontal, or nearly so.


NOTE: High Resolution (400 ppi) images of all figures and plates are located here.

Descriptions of the Plates: xvii-xviii

Click for plate at 100 ppi

Ornithichnites giganteus (Natural size)
Figure 21, 23

Plate at 400 ppi


Figures 1-24

Plate at 400 ppi


Proportional View of the Ornithichnites

Plate at 400 ppi