200 Years of Dinosaurs!

Kind of weird to think of dinosaurs being only 200 years old, but really it’s the concept and the formal classification of dinosaurs that’s hitting the two-century milestone today.

February 20, 1824 William Buckland published a paper on over a decade’s worth of fossil findings at a site in England, and described the Megalosaurus species to the Geological Society – A Jurassic dino buddy we now know lived about 168 million years ago. It completely shifted the global understanding of what all the giant petrified evidence of monsters left everywhere in the dirt actually were. No Buckland paper (with all the help from the many other scholars and the ancestral understandings that contributed), no Jurassic Park. Basically.

Fast forward to 1842 – Sir Richard Owen coined the term “Dinosauria” and gave our ancient reptile pals the VIP treatment. He wasn’t just a wordsmith; he was the Sherlock Holmes of dino anatomy, figuring out what made our favorite fossils stand out. Nowadays you can cruise on over to a museum like the Royal Tyrell in Drumheller and not only check out all of the fossils (including the most preserved dinosaur fossil ever found from up north in the Alberta oil sands), but watch newly-excavated specimens be carefully cleaned up and recorded in front of your eyes.

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