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A dinosaur dinner and relics from "one of the greatest humbugs, frauds and absurdities ever known" ( Several years after completing the Crystal Palace Park dinosaur sculptures, Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins visually and verbally recounted 1853 New Year's Eve party, in a letter to Edward Trimmer of the Royal College of Surgeons. I had the pleasure of seeing around me many of the heads of science among whom in the head of the squadron was Professor Owen and the late Professor Ed Forbes with eighteen other friends we were all very jolly to meet the new year 1854." Crowding the brains and belly, the illustrious guests raise their glasses in a toast to the future. Matthew's illustration employed the useful convention of showing a human for scale.

Because the first fragments found looked lizard-like, paleontologists assumed they had found giant lizards, but more bones revealed animals like nothing on Earth today. Dinosaur fossils just don't turn up in the same rock layers as human remains.

Did these terrible lizards ever coexist with people? Although some creationists claim that medieval dragons were really ruling reptiles of the Mesozoic that survived into modern times, this notion enjoys no support from any credible scientist. Gideon Mantell, who discovered and named this dinosaur, had been invited to participate in the reconstruction, but withdrew from the project because he disliked the idea of life-size models, and perhaps disliked Richard Owen even more.

A refurbishment project undertaken between 20 prettied them up, and they were then listed as buildings of architectural/historical interest. Yet Hawkins's "lizards" — like the reconstructions — have more of a mammalian pose, standing on four sturdy legs. Owen may have employed the same philosophy here that drove his thoughts on dinosaur articulation.

Owen didn't accept evolution and preferred to show dinosaurs (the dominant life forms of the Mesozoic) resembling the dominant life forms of modern times. A believer in separate creations rather than "transmutation," Owen maintained that the reptiles of the Mesozoic had little to do with the awkward reptiles of his day.

(As any eight-year-old can tell you, this Crystal Palace Park, London (photo by Michon Scott) Hawkins and Owen's reconstructions can still be seen Crystal Palace, easily accessible through London's public transportation system.

After more fossil finds led to a better understanding of dinosaur anatomy and locomotion, scientists and members of the public alike came to regard these statues with something less than admiration, and they fell into disrepair, staying shabby through the 20th century. Rudwick Another offering from the Owen-Hawkins team included this depiction of "giant lizards and pterosauria." Because the earliest dinosaur fossils were fragmentary and vaguely resembled modern lizards, 19th-century paleontologists initially thought of them as big lizards. In Owen's reconstruction, reproduced a decade later in Lyell's book, the amphibian's legs are tucked under its body, and its hind legs are so long that it's hard to imagine the animal walking very far before scraping all the skin off its knees.In the end, the Freiberg Mining Academy adopted an entrance without all the fossil adornments. And the caption of this image included an interesting caveat: "The association of the small forearm is probably incorrect." Skepticism about such tiny forearms is understandable, but repeated finds have shown that the tyrant lizard's forearms really were that diminutive.by Loxton and Prothero Several decades after Richard Owen and Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins collaborated on their spectacularly wrong dinosaurs in London, exotic-animal dealer Hagenbeck oversaw the construction of a more realistic, life-size, cement that maybe, somewhere in the African interior, sauropods weren't entirely extinct.He reported hearing reports of "an immense and wholly unknown animal" in Rhodesia, and legends of "a huge monster, half elephant, half dragon." He was a bit fuzzy about his sources, but his casual speculation nevertheless spawned headlines, including "Brontosaurus Still Lives" in the . Over a century later, despite the complete lack of physical evidence to vouch for the animal's existence, many cryptozoologists and creationists still cling to the Mokele Mbembe legend.Internet Archive ( Richard Owen, perhaps for theological reasons, insisted upon a mammalian articulation in dinosaur reconstructions but, decades later, Hay argued that dinosaurs had alligator-like stances and drooping abdomens.One might wonder why dragging bellies wouldn't show up in fossil trackways but, in all fairness, the same question could be asked about dragging tails, which remained a standard part of dinosaur depictions throughout much of the 20th century.