Timeline Story

Fossils: From Myth to Science

Fossils: From Myth to Science

From Year 0 (BCE/CE): 1824
Post Date: 06/14/1824

It took humanity millennia to transition from viewing large bones as relics of mythical creatures to recognizing them as evidence of extinct animals. The first significant step came in 1676 when Robert Plot, an English naturalist, described and illustrated a large thigh bone in his book “Natural History of Oxfordshire.” Although he believed it belonged to a giant human, his work laid the foundation for future scientific inquiry.

The late 18th and early 19th centuries saw increased interest and discovery, with key figures like Mary Anning and Gideon Mantell contributing to the field. Mantell’s identification of “Iguanodon” in 1822 further solidified the scientific community’s acceptance of fossils as remnants of extinct animals.

By 1824, the scientific community had made significant strides, facilitating a shift from mythological interpretations to scientific explanations. When William Buckland described and named “Megalosaurus” based on fossils found in Oxfordshire, England in 1824, he scientifically identified the first dinosaur, marking the beginning of paleontology as a field.

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