31 August 2012
The First Giant
In 1818 Georges Cuvier settled a conundrum of William Buckland's when he investigated the large bones of a lizard like animal. The bones had been in Buckland's possession for years, but the Napoleonic Wars had caused a situation in which international visits like the one Cuvier would eventually pay to Buckland to be on a fairly permanent hold until the cessation of the hostilities. This delay did nothing but slow down the description of one of the very first documented dinosaurs in the history of human kind. The descriptions that Buckland and Cuvier worked out together were published in 1824 and the new lizard like animal, "dinosaur" was not coined until 1842 by Richard Owen, was given the binomial name Megalosaurus bucklandii. Megalosaurus was originally restored as a bulldog like quadruped but we now know for certain that Megalosaurus was a Middle Jurassic European Theropod and is found in not only England but also in France and Portugal. No complete skeleton has been discovered to this point, but with multiple points of discovery and a wealth of material, a fairly complete knowledge of the skeleton does exist. This week is all about that original dinosaur, Megalosaurus.