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Re: Dickensian dinosaur



In a message dated 95-08-15 11:07:12 EDT, uebeltz@uxa.ecn.bgu.edu (Ellin
Beltz) writes:

>In the opening paragraph of "Bleak House,"
>Charles Dickens wrote:
>
>       "As much mud in the streets, as if the waters had but 
>        newly retired from the face of the earth, and it
>        would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus,
>        forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine
>        lizard up Holborn Hill."
>
>Is there really a Megalosaurus?  Translated that means
>"really big saurian," but was there some new discovery
>at the time C.D. was writing that he was spoofing?  The
>book appeared in serial form in 1852-53 if that is any
>help.
>
>This is a pure curiosity request.  I'm reading Dickens at 
>night after working on my thesis all day.  I am getting
>quite good sleep; usually only manage to read a few pages 
>and don't waste much time at the bookstore any more!
>
>Thanks!

Yes, _Megalosaurus_ was quite a famous dinosaur in Britain during those
years. It was one of a group of dinosaurs modeled at life size by Benjamin
Waterhouse Hawkins for the Crystal Palace in 1850-51 (off the top of my head)
and was viewed and marveled at by all the London intelligentsia.