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When Dinosaurs Ruled the Bronx?

Over the many years of restoration work, lots of curious objects have been pulled out of the Bronx River, and sometimes they pose a real puzzle.

The Bronx River valley has not been a prime fossil-hunting locality, its bedrocks being for the most part too old and too altered by geological forces to retain the imprints of past life.  Still, if the Bronx River wasn’t the home of T-Rex, one may still wonder about the other megafauna that once flourished, including the seven foot long beaver, Castoroides ohioensis. While it seems that no remains of this Super Beaver have yet been found in the Bronx, parts of a mastodon were dug up from the Harlem River Ship Canal near Spuyten Duyvil in the early twentieth century, something that makes one entry among the papers of the Bronx River Restoration Project especially interesting.

On a one-page “catalog of materials taken from the Bronx River at West Farms Square” in the spring of 1996 is the item:

“Removed from the bank north of East Tremont Avenue Bridge on Saturday, April 27th.  Four large bones – obviously from a dinosaur or some other large prehistoric animal.”

The mighty Castoroides?  The Bronx River Mastodon?  Or just some old bones Grandpa brought home from his time out west way back when?  I’ve been unable to learn what became of these bones, but the inquiry continues.

Stephen Paul DeVillo

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The Bronx River Alliance is a coordinated voice for the river that works in partnership to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River corridor so that it can be a healthy ecological, recreational, resource for the communities through which it flows.

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