Information on the first Discovery of Dinosaur Remains

Dinosaur remains have been found for hundreds and probably thousands of years but what the first discovery of dinosaur remains? There are recognized references to dragon bones being found in Wucheng, Sichuan, China that was written over two thousand years ago. In spite of the many discovers we can only guess at the answer to this question for it is thought that dinosaur bones were found all through the centuries but of course they were not recorded.

When we look back to the Roman and Greek mythology we discover that they talked of Griffins and Ogres which in all probability came from the vestiges of dinosaurs they discovered at that time. There is no evidence from the Roman era to declare that this is what prompted their legends so we can only presuppose that all of these legends most likely stem from the discovery of dinosaur bones. Our ancestors used bones that were found, in their daily lives, we can only assume that some of these were the remains of dinosaurs.

Rev. Plot in 1676

The beginning of the first recorded discovery of dinosaur bones was in 1676 when the Rev. Plot found a huge thigh bone in England which he considered to belong to a giant but it was most likely a dinosaur bone. A factual report of this discovery was published by R. Brookes in 1763 but it would not be correctly identified until years later.

Megalosaurus in 1824

The first scientific depiction of a dinosaur bone was Megalosaurus. The genus was named by William Buckland in 1824. A man by the name of Gideon Mantell assigned the scientific type species name which was Megalosaurus bucklandii. The very first dinosaur found was Iguanodon but it wouldn’t be described or named until later on as Megalodon. You will have to take into account, back two hundred years ago the word dinosaur wasn’t even acknowledged, so we are looking at all of this in retrospection. The dinosaur had not been acknowledged as a divided taxonomic group. It was the first dinosaur ever described scientifically and the first theropod dinosaur discovered.

First model of a dinosaur in 1854

Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins of England built the first life size representation of an Iguanodon. Amazingly, this was made out of concrete and used for amusement at a dinner party that was held for scientist at a major exhibition in 1854.

Iguanodon in 1822, Hylaeosaurus in 1833

Gideon Mantell was another of the first in fossil hunting in Britain. In 1825 he was responsible for describing and identification the Iguanodon which was a duck-billed plant-eater. The Iguanodons teeth and a small number of bones were found in 1822 by his wife Mary in Sussex, in the southern part of England. In 1833 Mantell also named Hylaeosaurus which was an armored plant-eater. There were others that followed.

Dinousauria in 1841

In 1841 Sir Richard Owen was a ground-breaking British comparative anatomist. He was the man that coined the word dinosauria. He coined this word from the Greek word “deinos” which means fearfully great and “sauros” which means lizard. These were acknowledged as a suborder of large, extinct reptiles.

Owen had noticed that a group of fossils had definite characteristics in general which were column like legs that were dissimilar than the sprawling legs of others and five fused vertebrae fused to the pelvic girdle. In order to substantiate his argument Owens introduced the dinosaur as a detached taxonomic group. This was completely in opposition to the new theory of evolution. The basic thought of evolution was recognized at this time but its mechanisms, including natural selection was not known. His work that he offered in fact would help bear the evolutionist arguments.

Owens new taxonomic name of Dinosauria and a new group of reptiles would only be the commencement of great scientific explorations. There is a lot that have happened since Owens time with approximately 330 genera been described. Today every few months and sometimes every few weeks a new species is established.

First in the USA in 1787

There are a lot of first since the first discovery in the world of dinosaurs. Dr Casper Wistar, in Gloucester County, New Jersey discovered the first dinosaur fossil in the US in 1787. Plinty Moody from Massachusetts USA discovered 1 foot fossil foot print at his farm in the 1800’s. Harvard and Yale examined this footprint and concluded that they were from “Noah’s Raven”. Many other fossils were discovered in a New England stone quarry and were considered to be inconsequential and were destroyed in the quarrying process. There were also additional bones and tracks discovered in Connecticut Valley, Massachusetts.

Almost complete dinosaur discovered in 1838

William Parker Foulke discovered the first nearly complete dinosaur. This was found on the John E. Hopkins’ farm in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Foulke heard of the discovery in 1838, made by some workmen in a Cretaceous marl pit. He acknowledged the significance of it in 1858 but by then some of the bones was gone. The dinosaur was indeed found but it was missing the skull. It was excavated by US anatomist Joseph Leidy, who named it Hadrosaurus fouki which means Foulki’s big lizard. It turned out to be a Duck-billed dinosaur but there is uncertainty to its genus due to there being so little information. Today it is on exhibit in the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences.

Liedy’s contribution

When Leidy analyzed the Hadrosaur skeleton it was thorough concerning the anatomy but he used his imagination to write about the manner in which this dinosaur lived and died. This went on to influence an accepted image of dinosaurs in the science field for many years to come. The skeleton is responsible for coming to life in people’s imaginations and has spurred generations of paleontologist.

Soft dinosaur tissue found in 2005

It is not only 200 years ago that scientist and paleontologist are finding first in dinosaur remains it is also in our present day such as the finding of a dinosaur in 2005 when scientist found soft tissue in a 68 million year old dinosaur remains that held soft tissue. This was something that put the world of dinosaurs in a tail spin. Until this point in time it was thought that there was no hope of finding any kind of tissue in dinosaur fossils. The research group which was headed by Dr. Mary Schweitzer an assistant professor in paleontology who reported that not only was the soft tissue largely intact but it was still pliable and transparent. Under a microscope it was discovered there were interior structures resembling blood vessels and even some cells present. A very exciting find in the world of paleontology.


There have been millions of fossils found since the first discovery of dinosaur remains and hopefully it will continue into the future. Evidence of dinosaurs is building day by day and new discoveries being made on a daily bases. Even though it is estimated that 1000 to 10,000 new species have been discovered there are many more waiting to be revealed which makes for a very exciting future in dinosaurs and the people that have interest in them.