story illustration by Monica Vachula

Pliny Moody uncovers tracks while plowing his father's fields. Pliny and his South Hadley farm are imagined by artist Monica Vachula, but the tracks he's examining are based on the actual fossil.

Noah's Raven

Interpreting the Mysterious Marks in Stone

As a popular local story relates, in western Massachusetts, just after 1800, a farm boy in the Connecticut River Valley scraped a patch of soil on his father’s farm and was astonished to find bird-like footprints impressed into the sandstone below. How did these mysterious marks get there? Could the Bible answer this question? Could the newly emerging field of geology?

Centuries before science emerged as a systematic study, people puzzled over giant bones eroding out of the earth and wondered why seashells are found at the tops of mountains. For many, the Judeo-Christian Old Testament offered an explanation: they were tangible evidence of the Great Flood described in the Bible's Book of Genesis. 

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