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Re: Dino-History

At 05:06 PM 11/17/98 -0500, you wrote:
>Could someone please tell me when
>and where dinosaurs first appear in
>written history?
>Prior to modern science, what was made
>of the dinosaur remains that are littered
>about the earth?
>I tend to naively think that the awareness of
>dinosaurs has always been part of our collective memory.
>When did people actually start to become aware of our
>predecessors on this earth?
>Thanks much in advance!

Some excellent books on this subject include Martin Rudwick's _The Meaning
of Fossils_ and _Scenes from Deep Time_, Eric Buffetaut's _A Short History
of Vertebrate Paleontology_, and the various historical chapters in Farlow &
Brett-Surman's _The Complete Dinosaur_.  Also most general paleontology
textbooks (and some historical geology textbooks) have at least a short
discussion of the history and origins of the field of paleontology.

The name Dinosauria was first used in 1842, coined by Sir Richard Owen.
Various dinosaur generic names (_Iguanodon_, _Megalosaurus_, _Hylaeosaurus_,
_Plateosaurus_, _Poekilopleuron_, _Thecodontosaurus_, and _Cetiosaurus_:
maybe a few others?) were already coined in the previous two decades, but
they weren't recognized as a distinct group from all other reptiles at that

Fossil organisms had been recognized as the remains of dead animals for
centuries (although there were other opinions as well...), but the
recognition of fossils as the remains of dead, previously unknown, and
entirely extinct species didn't come until the late 1700s.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:tholtz@geol.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661