Monday, June 12, 2017

DINOSAURS!: From Cultural to Pop Culture - 1802: Noah's Ravens

Our next entry in DINOSAURS!: From Cultural to Pop Culture - Modern Times we take a step back from the previous post on Dinosauria to 1802. 

- Modern Times -
1802: Noah's Ravens

Back in 1802 a young boy named Pliny Moody, was farming his fields in South Hadley, Massachusetts. While he was plowing, he unearthed a rock slab with a bunch of weird markings across it. He took the slab home and set it as a doorstep, because that's apparently what you did with these things back then (Nash Dinosaur Track Site). 

In 1810, the house, along with the rock, was sold to Dr. Elihu Dwight, who lived there for 30 years. During this time, the markings on the rocks were "identified" as the tracks of "Noah's Ravens". 

Eventually the rock came to the attention of Edward Hitchcock, who is generally considered to be the first ichnologist (a person who studies tracks and traces left behind by animals), who ascertained that this was not Noah's Ravens but the tracks of ancient birds. 

Eventually, around the 1860's, paleontologists finally went back to Hitchcock's "bird tracks" and realized them for what they were, dinosaur tracks. 

The "Noah's Raven" rock slab in Hitchcock's collection at Amherst College. Photo from Noahravens.blogspot.com.

Here is the passage from the King James Bible from which the terminology is stemming from:

Genesis 19: 6-7
6And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:7And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
The raven never returned to the ark and it was thought that these footprints represented the location where the raven touched down onto Earth following the floods. 


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