The Dinosaur Hunters: A True Story of Scientific Rivalry and the Discovery of the Prehistoric World (Paperback)
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The story of two nineteenth-century scientists who revealed one of the most significant and exciting events in the natural history of this planet: the existence of dinosaurs. In 'The Dinosaur Hunters' Deborah Cadbury brilliantly recreates the remarkable story of the bitter rivalry between two men: Gideon Mantell uncovered giant bones in a Sussex quarry, became obsessed with the lost world of the reptiles and was driven to despair. Richard Owen, a brilliant anatomist, gave the extinct creatures their name and secured for himself unrivalled international acclaim.
Fourth Estate Ltd
Publisher and industry reviews
'No other narrative I know illustrates the human element in scientific discovery quite so dramatically.' Evening Standard 'This is a tale of intrigue and deception, of burning ambition and failed dreams. The bitter clashes between the men who dominated 19th- century geology are exquisitely portrayed by Deborah Cadbury in this scholarly yet exhilarating book.' Independent 'This is a story we should all know, a defining part of contemporary western culture. I can't think of a better introduction.' Sunday Times 'This is a wonderful book, evoking a time when science required remarkable people to conduct it.' Observer 'This is a story we should all know, a defining part of contemporary Western culture. I can't think of a better introduction.' Sunday Times
UK Kirkus review
From the award-winning author of The Feminisation of Nature comes The Dinosaur Hunters (A True Story of Scientific Rivalry and the Discovery of the Prehistoric World). This account chronicles the hopes, speculation and setbacks experienced by amateurs and experts alike in the early part of the 19th century, when they began discovering evidence of the prehistoric era. They gradually found out that fossil creatures were very different from any living animals and therefore had a highly significant bearing on history. Written from the perspective of the knowledge at the time, Cadbury describes scientists puzzling over fossilized bones, and struggling to form a coherent theory for their presence. Several characters were instrumental in these momentous finds in various parts of the English countryside. In Lyme Regis an amateur fossil-hunter, Mary Anning, found a ready market for the many specimens she discovered on the beaches and cliffs. An Oxford naturalist, the Reverend WIlliam Buckland, was researching fossil remains, but the interpretation of his findings was often distorted by his religious beliefs. Although a competent geologist, he rejected evolutionary theories and felt obliged to make his finds fit into the accepted biblical wisdom of the Deluge and Creation. A naturalist, Gideon Mantell, a Sussex doctor, strove for years to overcome prejudice and the snobbish attitudes of the elitist scientific fraternity before he finally managed to convince his fellow scientists that a giant herbivorous lizard once roamed around the English countryside. However, it was Richard Owen, an unscrupulous anatomist who managed to insinuate himself into the best circles, who employed all the hard-earned knowledge to his own disadvantage and unfairly was credited with the discovery of the dinosaurs. This book gives a fascinating insight into the drawing of knowledge about prehistoric times. (Kirkus UK)
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