Podokesaurus Holyokensis - Selecting Our State Dinosaur

Model of Podokesaurus Holyokensis (1912)

It’s been an exciting year for the state of Massachusetts! For the first time ever, we are in the process of selecting a state dinosaur, the Podokesaurus Holyokensis. Discovered in nearby Hadley by Professor Mignon Talbot of Mount Holyoke College, the Podokesaurus is one of the few dinosaur skeletons to be found in the state. The original specimen burned down in a fire in 1917, but the Beneski Museum is home to one of the few original casts. Visit the links below to learn more about the dinosaur, the legislative process, and how the Museum is involved.

State Dinosaur Initiative

Lauren Kent, CNN

Massachusetts might soon have an official state dinosaur.

Massachusetts State Representative Jack Patrick Lewis reveals the dinosaur that will be proposed in legislation calling for an official state dinosaur.

The idea of picking a state dinosaur came to Massachusetts state representative Jack Lewis while brainstorming Covid-safe projects for his child’s cub scouts chapter that would engage the scouts in both science and the legislative process.

Official state dinosaur bill leaps over first hurdle by Chris Van Buskirk from the Patriot Ledger

The legislation establishing Podokesaurus holyokensis as the Massachusetts state dinosaur has passed its first committee and it is looking hopeful that it will move onto a floor vote soon. The Beneski has one of the casts of the original fossil and has been active in getting this initiative passed! In this article Fred talks a little about the history of the fossil’s discovery.

Dinosaur Bill Unearths New Concern Among Archeologists

Experts are hoping the lawmakers will set up up a commission to figure out how to adequately protect and provide public and professional access to archaeological, geological, and fossil resources in the state.

Dinosaur bill seeks to protect, provide access to fossils by Ryan Feyre from The Reminder

Dinosaur bill seeks to protect and provide access to fossil sites around Massachusetts. Museum Educator Fred Venne encourages exploring local paleontology, but presses the importance of doing so in such a way that finds are preserved for future generations.


Intro to Photogrammetry

Interterm 2020

Participants in this Interterm course worked collaboratively to photograph historical objects and dinosaur track-ways in the Beneski Museum of Natural History.

Facilitated by Hayley Singleton, head of collections and operations at the College's Beneski Museum of Natural History, and Tim Pinault, digitization coordinator at Frost Library, this workshop covered basic workflows and methodologies to create 3D models. Participants used DSLR cameras, Adobe Photoshop and Metashape Pro photogrammetric processing software to create accurate 3D models of historical objects.


Case Closed:

Five people gather around a table examining a dinosaur footprint

Recovered Set of Dinosaur Footprints Finds New Home at Amherst

A 190-million-year-old stolen slab of rock with theropod dinosaur tracks is now in the protective custody of the College’s Beneski Museum of Natural History, thanks to the state Environmental Police.

Read the story

Identify It Day

A woman gestures with her hands the size of a fossil bone to a child who listens

Rocks, Bones and Other Mysterious Objects

You never know what you might find in your yard, or in the forest, or on the beach while you’re out for a walk. But there’s a group of scientists at Amherst College who want to help you figure out what that mystery object is.

Read the story

Beneski Museum featured on WGBY's Connecting Point

February 10, 2016

Connecting Point producer Dave Fraser and videographer Mark Langevin tour the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College.


Reimagining Audubon: Local artists use famous naturalist's art as starting point for their own
Amherst Bulletin, December 1, 2016

You can score free admission to 49 museums across Massachusetts today
boston.com, September 24, 2016

Beneski Museum a hidden gem
The Reminder, July 15, 2016

Zip Trip: Beneski Museum of Natural History (Video)
ABC's Western Mass News, May 27, 2016

Unique Museums: Beneski Museum (Video)
WGBY's Connecting Point, February 10, 2016

Museum Adventures: Beneski Museum
Hilltown Families Blog, February 1, 2016


The Art of Nature: Sculptures of Dinosaur Tracks and Traces
Evolution Literacy blog, December 3, 2015

'Antiques Roadshow' for rocks and bones: Amherst College's Beneski Museum of Natural History offers 'Identify It Day'
MassLive, October 30, 2015

Kate Wellspring: The Beneski Museum of Natural History
WINC Public Radio, August 5, 2015

Exploring Amherst, Massachusetts, for a day
The Boston Globe, June 7, 2015

Millions of years ago, Western Massachusetts was a Jurassic World
Boston.com, June 1, 2015

Melting away: Photo exhibition at Amherst College tracks disappearing glaciers in Alaska
Daily Hampshire Gazette, March 18, 2015

See the Dramatic Effects of Climate Change in the Alaskan Arctic 100 Years Ago vs. Today
Amherst College, February 11, 2015

Tribe part of human remains repatriation request
Cherokee One Feather, February 2015


New Dinosaur Species Discovered
ABC Fox 40, December 9, 2014

Florida mammoth helps spark lifelong curiosity of the past
10 News, October 7, 2014

Western Mass. dino-might
The Recorder, September 18, 2014


There's Another Vegan on Campus
Amherst Magazine, Spring 2013

Amherst College alum donates rare dinosaur to college's Beneski Museum of Natural History
MassLive.com, April 10, 2013

Alumnus Gives Amherst College Beneski Museum of Natural History a Dryosaurus Altus Dinosaur; Will Be Second Mounted Specimen of its Species in the World
Amherst College, April 9, 2013


Favorite Place: Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College addresses questions visually
MassLive.com, April 3, 2012


Beneski Museum of Natural History reveals a rich prehistoric history of the Pioneer Valley
MassLive.com, April 17, 2011

Amherst College to Host Ceremony for Newly Dedicated Beneski Earth Sciences Building and Beneski Museum of Natural History April 1
Amherst College, March 24, 2011

Dinosaur Tracks Collection | Local Treasure
Yankee magazine, March 2011


Layers Beneath Dinosaur Land
The Valley Advocate, April 13, 2010