Scientific name: Megalosaurus, meaning ‘Giant lizard’
Common name: Megalosaur
When: 168.3 – 166.1 million years ago
Size: 6 metres long and weighing 1000 kg
Statues: A single individual facing towards the iguanodons
Fun fact: Charles Dickens imagined meeting a Megalosaurus on the muddy streets of London in the opening lines of Bleak House. It is also mentioned in Conan Doyle’s Lost World.
The Crystal Palace statues vs modern scientific reconstructions: Megalosaurus has the honour of being the first dinosaur to be described in a scientific way (by William Buckland in 1824), although the term ‘dinosaur’ was not coined by the anatomist Richard Owen for another 18 years. Its ‘fearful’ teeth were compared to a collection of knives, swords and saws.
Many of the key features remain in modern reconstructions from the Crystal Palace model, including its large stature, long tail and general head shape. In the image below, gone is the large shoulder hump and of course it is now depicted as bipedal (standing on two legs) rather than a quadruped (standing on four legs) with short forelimbs.
Last edited on 15 May 2019