Podokesaurus holyokensis which means “swift-footed lizard of Holyoke,” was voted to be Massachusetts’ state dinosaur in 2022. It was discovered in western Massachusetts in 1910 by Mount Holyoke College professor Mignon Talbot, the first woman to find, discover, name and describe a dinosaur.
The species was 3 to 6 feet (around 1 to 2 meters) in length, weighed approximately 90 pounds (40 kilograms), and was estimated to run 9 to 12 mph (14 to 19 kph). This creature lived during the late Triassic and early Jurassic Periods.
Fossilized dinosaur footprints are common in the Connecticut River Valley. In 1927, when Belle Skinner changed the entrance of Wistariahurst from Pine Street to Cabot Street, she also added a large, u-shaped driveway paved in stone slabs featuring fossilized dinosaur tracks and river bottom ripple marks.
The type of tracks are Eubrontes (the name refers to the print, not the dinosaur that made them) and they date from the Jurassic age, approximately 180 million years ago. Other stones feature clear ripple marks, fossilized remnants of the ancient lakeshores that defined the region at the time.
The shale slabs can still be seen in the (no longer used) driveway of Wistariahurst. Though many of the tracks have worn away over time, some have been kept safe from the elements under the porte corchere and can be easily identified by guests.