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Mount Holyoke College professor discovers a local dinosaur bone

Mount Holyoke College professor Mark McMenamin holds a dinosaur bone he discovered.
Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com
Mount Holyoke College professor Mark McMenamin holds a dinosaur bone he discovered.

A Mount Holyoke College professor has discovered a dinosaur fossil from Amherst, Massachusetts.

Last August, geology professor Mark McMenamin said he was at UMass Amherst with his wife, who wanted rocks for an ornamental garden. She saw some at a construction site at the university and, with permission, took them home.

The next week, McMenamin said he was splitting wood near the pile of rocks.

"One of the rocks rolled off of the pile and rolled down at my foot," he said. "And it was late in the evening, and the glancing light highlighted the texture. I recognized that texture, brought it into the kitchen, held it under the kitchen light — and I'm looking at it, and I'm saying, 'This is a piece of fossil bone. How strange.'"

McMenamin said testing and research confirmed it was the elbow bone of a predatory dinosaur about 30 feet long, which lived during the Jurassic period.

He said the fossil will likely end up in a museum. He hopes it will lead to more discoveries, and asks that people keep a lookout for unusual rocks.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education, and politics. Working with correspondent Morley Safer, he reported from locations across the United States as well as from India, Costa Rica, Italy, and Iraq.
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