1a. Plot's Unrecognized Dinosaur Bone, 1676


Robert Plot was an antiquarian and county historian who has the honor of discovering and publishing the first fossil bone that we now recognize as dinosaurian. In the text, he states that the bone came from a quarry in Cornwall, and that it closely resembles the thigh bone of a man or animal, but that it is nearly two feet around at the end, and weighs almost twenty pounds. Plot concludes that it is a real bone, now petrified, and must have been the bone of some elephant brought to Britain by the Romans. Plot was the keeper (the first keeper) of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, but this specimen was not so well kept, and is now lost. However, from the engraving, the bone can be identified as a dinosaur femur, probably that of a Megalosaurus.


Plot, Robert. The Natural History of Oxfordshire. Oxford, 1676. This work is part of our History of Science Collection, but it was NOT included in the original exhibition.

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