It may seem surprising but dinosaurs are actually a British "invention" of the early 19th century. The name dinosaur was coined in 1842 by an English anatomist Richard Owen, a highly ambitious, machiavellian schemer and villain of Deborah Cadbury's The Dinosaur Hunters: A True Story of Scientific Rivalry and the Discovery of the Prehistoric World
. Her hero is Gideon Mantell, a practising doctor, who found and first described many of the bones of the beasts that subsequently became known as dinosaurs. Full of quotes from contemporary sources, The Dinosaur Hunters
brilliantly evokes the Dickensian world of early Victorian science and society. From Mary Anning, the self-taught fossil hunter of Lyme Regis to the academic and deeply eccentric Dean Buckland of Oxford University, the story tells of reputations made and lost as self-help, self-promotion, over-wheening pride, folly and social climbing all played their part in the emerging story of the geological past. The dinosaurs, although central to the story, are also a vehicle for the much larger, more interesting and important story about the struggle to understand the meaning of fossils and what they tell us about prehistory. Deborah Cadbury, an award-winning TV science producer and acclaimed author of The Feminisation of Nature
has thoroughly researched her topic and steeped herself in the intricacies of the scientific debates of the time. With black and white illustrations, extensive notes, a bibliography and index, the result is one of the best popular science histories. --Douglas Palmer
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘No other narrative I know illustrates the human element in scientific discovery quite so dramatically.' Evening Standard
'This is a tale of intrigue and deception, of burning ambition and failed dreams. The bitter clashes between the men who dominated 19th- century geology are exquisitely portrayed by Deborah Cadbury in this scholarly yet exhilarating book.' Independent
'This is a story we should all know, a defining part of contemporary western culture. I can't think of a better introduction.'
'This is a wonderful book, evoking a time when science required remarkable people to conduct it.' Observer