Paleontologists debated pterosaur posture and locomotion on the ground for many years after Owen and Hawkins produced these sculptures, and the scaly necks reflect the understanding that the animals were indeed reptiles.More recent finds indicate that, although pterosaurs had scales, they were confined to the feet and maybe the legs. Rudwick Waterhouse Hawkins drew this diagram for a lecture he delivered to the Society of Arts in London, and the picture mapped the planned placement of the ancient reptiles in Crystal Palace Park.Because the first fragments found looked lizard-like, paleontologists assumed they had found giant lizards, but more bones revealed animals like nothing on Earth today. Dinosaur fossils just don't turn up in the same rock layers as human remains.Did these terrible lizards ever coexist with people? Although some creationists claim that medieval dragons were really ruling reptiles of the Mesozoic that survived into modern times, this notion enjoys no support from any credible scientist. Gideon Mantell, who discovered and named this dinosaur, had been invited to participate in the reconstruction, but withdrew from the project because he disliked the idea of life-size models, and perhaps disliked Richard Owen even more.His underlings explained to him that wouldn't be so easily done, but instead offered a faithful cast of the fossil.Carnegie and the King agreed, and the cast was unveiled to the public in 1905.In short, Owen saw the dinosaur as quadrupedal, with a mammalian-like stance.
Carnegie passed the request back to his people in Pittsburgh, initially making the fairly unrealistic request that somebody go dig up another skeleton.
(As any eight-year-old can tell you, this Crystal Palace Park, London (photo by Michon Scott) Hawkins and Owen's reconstructions can still be seen Crystal Palace, easily accessible through London's public transportation system.
After more fossil finds led to a better understanding of dinosaur anatomy and locomotion, scientists and members of the public alike came to regard these statues with something less than admiration, and they fell into disrepair, staying shabby through the 20th century. Rudwick Another offering from the Owen-Hawkins team included this depiction of "giant lizards and pterosauria." Because the earliest dinosaur fossils were fragmentary and vaguely resembled modern lizards, 19th-century paleontologists initially thought of them as big lizards. In Owen's reconstruction, reproduced a decade later in Lyell's book, the amphibian's legs are tucked under its body, and its hind legs are so long that it's hard to imagine the animal walking very far before scraping all the skin off its knees.
Instead, he saw reptiles from the Mesozoic as much more like modern mammals. Grindon's knobby monstrosity retains Owen's limb proportions and association with the wrong tracks, but also gives the ancient amphibian rear legs that protrude above the torso like a pair of spider legs.
While there is something to be said for not reconstructing dinosaurs as giant lizards, they didn't have mammalian postures either. was the world's first dinosaur — not the first to evolve, but the first to be formally described.