Humboldt has a Hadrosaur!

Did you know that a Hadrosaur was the first nearly complete dinosaur ever found? Yes! That's right. The first dinosaur skeleton to be excavated was a species called Hadrosaurus foulkii found in a marl pit in New Jersey in 1858. It was discovered by Victorian fossil hobbyist, Parker Foulk and these original bones are now displayed at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Since that initial find at ground zero for dinosaur discoveries at least twelve different species of hadrosaurs have been found including ones with large crests on their heads probably used to resonant sound. The word Hadrosaur means "bulky lizard".

The common name for this group of dinosaurs are the duck-billed dinosaurs and the Natural History Museum of Cal Poly Humboldt is proud to own a fossilized tail of one. The tail is also from Hadrosaurus foulkii, which is a species that was numerous throughout North America and lived during the late Cretaceous 65-75 million years ago. Hadrosaurs were vegetarians and could stand on two legs to reach high places using their strong tail. So many different fossils of hadrosaurs have been found that scientists can paint a fairly clear picture of this group. They most likely traveled in herds, laid large nests that they covered with vegetation, and once the eggs hatched, took care of their brood similar to modern day birds. The head of H. foulkii was never found but many teeth have. Their flattened beak-shaped mouths and rows of grinding teeth were good at tearing vegetation. The size of this dinosaur is similar to a large elephant and it would have weighed two to three tons needing massive amounts of vegetation.

Visit the NHM to see and touch the fossilized Hadrosaur tail and see the nearly-to-scale Hadrosaur mural painted by Ciara Craig, a Cal Poly Humboldt art student.  Ciara worked with museum leadership (Julie Van Sickle and Melinda Bailey) on the difficult task of envisioning how to incorporate the fossilized tail and a mural depicting the approximate size of the full Hadrosaur.  We love the result, thank you Ciara!  

For more information about hadrosaurs visit: or

Dino mural painting in action

Ciara Craig Begins Painting the Mural

Dino mural painting in action

All the Planning Coming to Life!


Hadrosaur Mural Painting

Ciara Craig, Cal Poly Humboldt Student Artist and Julie Van Sickle, NHM Director





Hadrosaur tail on NHM wall

Fossilized Hadrosaur Tail -- Thank You Melinda and Mark Bailey for inspiring and refurbishing!