The Dinosaurs
(Dinosauria)
This page deals with the fossilized teeth and other remains of the dinosaurs. Scrappy dinosaur material is very uncommon at Big Brook and identifiable material is rare. Most of the time, except for the duckbilled dinosaurs or hadrosaurs, there has been only a few or even a single specimen represented. The most common dinosaurs that are found at Big Brook are the hadrosaurs, in particular Edmontosaurus minor. In fact, hadrosaurs are the most common dinosaur represented in any marine deposit. This may at first sound like a paradox. How can a land dwelling dinosaur (all dinosaurs are land dwelling) be found in a marine deposit?  The explanation is fairly simple.

There are two main theories as to how this happened, depending on the way the dinosaur is found. These are called the "bloat and float" theory and the "chomp and stomp" theory. They both start out the same. The living dinosaur first has to die next to a river, for example be killed by a predator or some other means. According to the "bloat and float" theory, the dead carcass bloats with gasses as the flesh decays. This makes the body buoyant and the river (possibly in flood) caries the body out to sea where it sinks to the bottom and becomes fossilized. This theory explains articulated skeletons such as the Hadrosaurus foulkii found at Haddonfield where most if the skeleton was recovered.

The river (possibly under normal conditions) may also deposit the dinosaur carcass on a sand bar or bank. Then scavengers will chomp it apart and scatter the bones. The bones then may be trampled or stomped and are broken further. Then during times of flood, these isolated bones and teeth are washed out to sea and deposited. Even if the dinosaur makes it out to sea complete, then meat eating sharks, fish, mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, and crocodiles would have torn the dinosaur apart and scattered the bones. The "chomp and stomp" theory explains most of the isolated and broken dinosaur material found at Big Brook.

Besides the hadrosaurs, there have been documented reports of other dinosaur kinds. There is a
Tyranosaurus rex like dinosaur called Dryptosaurus aquilunguis. Also there is the armored nodosaurs and the ornithomimids (not covered). The bones that have been attributed to the ornithomimids in earlier years might represent the growth stages of Edmontosaurus or Dryptosaurus.

Any material suspected to be dinosaur should be brought to the state museum in Trenton or any other local science museum.  The paleontologists will identify the material to the best of their ability. They will not take the specimen unless you donate it to the museum. If you decide to donate the specimen, then your name will be put on the label as the finder. Most of all, you will be making a contribution to paleontology.
To the Dinosaur Page