Coelophysis footprint, Coprolite

In 2005, through the generosity of the Triad Foundation, PRI acquired the collection of Nicholas McDonald, a highschool teacher in Connecticut. This outstanding collection includes more than 16,000 specimens of fossil fish, coprolites (fossil feces), plants, and dinosaur footprints.

Around 200 million years ago, the supercontinent of Pangea was coming apart, and one of the rifts that formed in its midst went on to become a system of valleys, running from what is now Nova Scotia to North Carolina, including what we now call the Connecticut, Newark, and Hudson river valleys. Like the modern East African Rift, these valleys held numerous lakes. Sediments accumulated in these valleys and eventually became the mostly red and brown rocks that are visible in places like Holyoke and Springfield, Massachusetts, and Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut. Geologists call these rocks the Newark Series, and they contain abundant fossils of fish, plants, and dinosaur footprints.

Fish (semionotid), Bluff Head, Guilford, McDonald Collection