Impressions from a Lost World: The Discovery of Dinosaur Footprints

Fossil Chimaera Barratti

zoomable artifact image here

"Four toes, with a stout heel behind, and five before. Tail broad and stout.

 . . . I affix the name of my friend Dr. Joseph Barratt of Middletown [Connecticut] to this species, as its discoverer, although I am not sure that the specimen which he pointed out to me in Middletown as the Anomoepus barratti is the same. But I rather presume them to be identical."

Dr. Barratt and Edward Hitchcock had cordial relations at first. Barratt sold Hitchcock several interesting fossils for his collection, including its most beautiful specimen. However, Barratt had strange theories about geology and the footprints and began to ridicule and harass Hitchcock in public. This, coupled with mental deterioration that may or may not have been related to the aggression, led to a deteriorated friendship. Sadly, Barratt's mental health declined over the years until he was finally committed to the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane in 1880.

Accession #:
Courtesy of:
Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College, photograph by Penny Leveritt