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“The Start of a Prehistoric Revolution: Introducing Megalosaurus!”

Megalosaurus: the Fossil that Introduced Dinosaurs to the World

For centuries, dinosaurs have filled the imaginations of both young and old alike. Stories and depictions of these giants have been around since ancient times, though it was not until the 19th century discovery of a particular fossil that provided evidence for their existence. This fossil was the Megalosaurus – the dinosaur that introduced the world to dinosaurs.

The Megalosaurus was discovered by an English geologist, William Buckland, in the limestone of the Cotswolds Hills in 1819. This discovery was hugely significant for its time as it was the first dinosaur Fossil ever discovered. It provided tangible proof that long-gone creatures could indeed be unearthed from the depths of the earth.

It appears that Buckland first described the Megalosaurus in 1824. He noted, “Although the great size of these bones, which are much larger than those of any known living animal, first excited my attention, the more I looked upon them, the more I admired them…” From this, buckland was able to decipher that the Fossil was, in fact, that of a giant lizard-like creature, laying the foundation for modern day dinosaur research and fossil classification.

Interestingly, the term “dinosaur” wasn’t yet used at the time of the Megalosaurus’ discovery. Buckland was an incredibly well-versed scientist and incorporated the Latin word “Dinosauria” to classify the Fossil in 1842. Surprisingly enough, the name Megalosaurus, being the first true dinosaur ever discovered, played a large role in the scientific naming of all dinosaurs, as all dinosaur names adopt a suffix of “-saurus”.

As is often the case with discoveries and scientific speculation, there were many who disagreed with Buckland’s findings with regards to the Megalosaurus. This is where Buckland’s rival, Gideon Mantell, comes into play. Mantell was initially not as positive as Buckland and for years believed that the Fossil was that of a giant iguanodon, a now extinct reptilian relatives to the modern iguana. It was only after further research and evidence that confirmed that the Fossil, in fact, belonged to the Megalosaurus that Mantell was finally convinced of Buckland’s original findings.

All in all, the discovery of the Megalosaurus was incredibly important and influential to the development of dinosaur research. Not only did it mark the beginning of a new scientific field, but also it shaped and established our current perception of dinosaurs. To this day, the Megalosaurus acts as a symbol of both the start of 19th-century dinosaur studies and the start of a whole new era of scientific inquiry.

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