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Megalosaurus was the dinosaur that started a great many things including the science of palaeontology,‭ ‬the debate about if dinosaurs should be called names that end with‭ '‬saurus‭' ‬because they are not‭ '‬lizards‭'‬,‭ ‬to lifetimes of fascination about the creatures that once walked the Earth when we ourselves were an evolutionary dream. What is thought to be the first fragment of Megalosaurus was discovered way back in‭ ‬1676,‭ ‬and was recovered from a limestone quarry in Oxfordshire.‭ ‬Although only drawings of this bone exist today it was described at the time as part of a femur by Robert Plot,‭ ‬a chemistry professor at Oxford University.‭ ‬However due to the unprecedented nature of the find,‭ ‬he declared it to belong to a giant human,‭ ‬citing the mention of giants in the bible as a reference.‭ In‭ ‬1763‭, ‬the bone was given the name‭ '‬Scrotum humanum‭' ‬by Richard Brookes,‭ ‬due to the rather crass yet accurate appearance of the end of the bone to a human scrotum.‭ ‬However this name was never formerly accepted by any scientific body,‭ ‬and has always been interpreted as a description of the drawing of the bone,‭ ‬and was never put forward to represent the binomial name.‭ ‬Today the ICZN, the body that governs the naming of animals, has not made any special effort to protect the name Megalosaurus as they insist it is the correct and valid name for the genus,‭ ‬and that Brookes's name is not valid. The man most often associated with Megalosaurus is the Rev.‭ ‬William Buckland who had acquired further fossil material from the same location as the‭ '‬first‭' ‬bone in‭ ‬1815.‭ ‬Buckland continued to puzzle over what animal these bones belonged to until Georges Cuvier,‭ ‬the first man to correctly identify Pterodactylus as a flying reptile,‭ ‬declared the bones to belong to some kind of giant lizard-like creature.‭ ‬Compiling and describing as many fossils as he could,‭ ‬Buckland‭ ‬wrote a paper titled‭ '‬Notice on the Megalosaurus or great Fossil Lizard of Stonesfield‭'‬.‭ ‬You have to remember that the title dinosaur would not be created until‭ ‬1842‭ ‬by Richard Owen.


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