18 March 2011
Posted in DinoDigs
Throughout history people have been locating dinosaur fossils and incorrectly classifying them. The Greeks and Romans thought they belonged to ogre’s, the Chinese thought they were dragon bones, and the English thought they were from giants. Despite all the wrong predictions, there were three British fossil hunters in the early 1800’s who began to dig deep into the exploration of the unknown world of dinosaurs. Keep in mind, at this point in time there was no such thing as a dinosaur and the word dinosaur had not yet been invented. In 1824, William Buckland was the first individual to scientifically name a dinosaur, calling it a Megalosaurus. Gideon A. Mantell discovered other early dinosaur fossils including the Iguanondon (duck-billed plant eater) and the Hylaeosaurus (armed plant-eater). A few years later a man named Benjamin Waterhouse Watkins made the first life-size dinosaur model out of concrete as an amusement at a house party for scientist.
“Dinosauria” was the first name given to dinosaurs and they were believed to be a suborder of large, extinct reptiles. Sir Richard Owens, a British pioneer, coined the term dinosauria in 1841, from the Greek word “deinos” meaning fearfully great and “sauors” meaning lizard. He also noticed some similar characteristics between the Megalosaurus, Iguanadon, and Hylaeosaurus such as their upright legs and their unique vertebrae structure. Owens introduced “dinosauria” as a new taxonomic group among other reptiles and since then over 330 species of dinosaurs have been discovered. Every few months paleontologist find new dinosaurs and help increase our knowledge about the creatures that roamed the earth during prehistoric times.
To get your dose of dinos, don't miss Fossil fest, taking place Saturday, March 20 from 11am - 4pm!