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1 8 3 0s - 8 0s: D R A G O N S  B Y  D E S I G N

The world had no concept of evolution until Charles Darwin's 'Origin of Species' in 1859. For the previous 18 years however, it was evident that Dinosaurs ("terrible lizards" so-named by English anatomist Richard Owen) were among many creatures that existed before Man. Indeed their remains were envisioned to be those of 'dragons' in the oldest known reference by Chang Qu in China c. 300 B.C.

The term 'Paleontology' was coined in 1830 by geologist Charles Lyell. Natural Sciences were still in their infancy so the religious, superstitious majority of citizenry did not refer to them as extinct animals. Rather they were called antediluvian monsters - creatures that apparently existed before the Flood. 

One of the most important fossils ever discovered was 1861's Archaeopteryx. Although at the time, it was not known that it was a near transitional form of dinosaur-bird except to anatomist Thomas Huxley.

An embarrassing critique of Edward Drinker Cope's description of Elasmosaurus by Yale fossil hunter Othniel Charles Marsh created a fierce rivalry in the first big American fossil rush in the western U.S. By the 1880s dinosaurs were being excavated in Canada with such frequency that the Alberta government protected land under the name Dinosaur Provincial Park which still stands today.

 Henry de la Beche

English geologist Henry de la Beche's watercolor Duria Antiquior (1830) is considered the first painted paleo-environment. If you get a chance to see the picture enlarged, you will notice some of the marine creatures are defecating. Fossilized excrement was discovered in the deposits where the skeletal remains were preserved.





Archibald Willard








 Frank Bond

Likely the first depiction of a quadraped dinosaur rearing up to feed.






  John Martin


John Martin's pterodactyls and marine reptiles were nightmarish in Thomas Hawkins' The Book of the Great Sea Dragons (1840).




  Edward Newman

Newman's pterosaurs were restored as warm-blooded, flying marsupials in 1843. 






  Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins


Hawkins (1807-94) was an English sculptor, famous for creating the 33 lifesize Crystal Palace Park dinosaurs in London, and most recognized for his four-legged restorations (after anatomist Richard Owen) of Iguanodon and Megalosaurus (1850) and 'Jurassic Life of Europe' (1870). The drawing is dated 1852.

Ferdinand von Hochstetter

Ferdinand von Hochstetter painted scenes of European prehistoric animals during the
1850s-1870s, that were copied from Hawkins.







  Edward Drinker Cope 

Cope's 1868 illustration of bipedal Laelaps (Dryptosaurus) coincided with its description. A year later Hawkins was restoring another biped, Hadrosaurus.