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Dinosaurs at Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace dinosaurs

Between the sports arena and Thicket Road

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Monsters in the palace park
The Crystal Palace dinosaurs

Once again visitors to Crystal Place park can stroll around the lake and islands to see the famous dinosaurs.

The dinosaur hunters
It was around 1815 that William Buckland collected large fossil bones from a quarry near Oxford. He began to speculate about size and bulk of the great lizard (megalosaurus) that must have given rise to these fossils.
Gideon Mantell, a doctor in Sussex, collected fossils over many years. His most famous discovery was in 1825 when he found giant teeth so strange and large that they must have come from another giant animal which he called an iguanadon.
The person who first used the term 'dinosaur' was Richard Owen who published a paper in 1842 in which he reviewed the research by Mantell and others.
Monsters at Crystal PalaceHawkins and Owen
Shortly after the Crystal Palace moved to Sydenham Hill, the sculpture Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins was commissioned to create life-size replicas of the recently discovered dinosaurs in the park around the palace. He worked closely with Richard Owen.
The completion of the specimens was celebrated by a dinner-party of 22 distinguished men of science and letters, which took place in the stomach of the partly completed Iguanodon on December 31, 1853. The party saw in the New Year with the toast:"Saurians and Pterodactyl's all! dream ye ever, in your ancient festivities, of a race to come, dwelling above your tombs...dining on your ghosts".

Submitted by: Andrew Hunt, 21 January 2007

See panoramas of the park and its dinosaurs.
Find out more about the dinosaurs that have now been restored
Find out about modern ideas about dinosaurs and other extinct monsters from the Natural History Museum.

See also: History of science Evolution

Project sponsors:

City sponsors:
ASE London Region
Nuffiled Curriculum Centre