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Re: Dickensian dinosaur

 From: Ellin Beltz <uebeltz@uxa.ecn.bgu.edu>
 > 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?

Yes, it is a rather poorly known mid-sized to large theropod
from England and probably mainland Europe.  It was one of the
first dinosaurs discovered, and was one of the three forms
on which the taxon Dinosauria was originally based.

The size cited is probably a little too high, though.  Modern
estimates are closer to 20-25 feet. (Though, with only a few bones
known it is hard to tell for sure).

The genus quickly became a garbage bin, and almost all indeterminate
"carnosaur" remains were described as species of Megalosaurus.
Most of these species clearly are NOT Megalosaurus.

swf@elsegundoca.attgis.com              sarima@netcom.com

The peace of God be with you.