The Forgotten Doctor Who Discovered Dinosaurs

The Forgotten Doctor Who Discovered Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs became extinct 66 million years ago, but they seem to be around us all the time. We find their fossil remains in museums, in cartoons, toy stores and T-shirts, and of course we have all seen them in movies, including TV and Jurassic Park movie series. It is difficult today to understand how difficult it was to make their presence known to the world two hundred years ago. The first to do so was an English rural geographer who loved geography.

Gideon Algernon Mandel was born in 1790 in Sussex County, England to father Chandler and mother. At the age of 15 he was hired as a trainee surgeon, and in 1811 was officially appointed a physician. In parallel to her work as a private obstetrician, she devoted her spare time to geography as a hobbyist and published several articles on the geography of her place of residence.

Gideon Mandel

Gideon Mandel

(Photo: Public domain from Wikipedia)

It was at that time that the scientific interest in fossils began to develop. Mandel did not ignore the new trend and collected fossil remains in the Sussex area. His medical training and knowledge of anatomy helped him a lot to understand his findings. Remains of marine animals from the Upper Cretaceous period, mostly 100-66 million years ago, were mostly found in the limestone rocks on the surface. In 1819 he began exploring rocks from a quarry near the town of Cockfield, which allowed him to move to the Lower Cretaceous 145-100 million years ago, when he discovered the first fossil remains of Earth’s creatures from this period. In the UK.

Among the fossils he found were some large bones, including the large teeth of an unknown creature he discovered in a quarry in 1822. It is not surprising that these are actually teeth because their enamel coating makes them easy to survive and scare. The rest of the skull shatters very early.

These are not the first large bones discovered from the Cretaceous, but the prevailing opinion in the scientific community in those days was that they were the remains of particularly large mammals. Mandel, on the other hand, believed that the tooth belonged to a giant vegetarian reptile. He finally believed this when he saw a museum in the skeleton of an iguana and saw the great resemblance between its teeth and its fossil teeth. From this he determined that it was an iguana-like creature, but twenty times larger than that, and called it iguana.

Dinosaur teeth are found on the armor and jaw of contemporary IguanaDinosaur teeth are found on the armor and jaw of contemporary Iguana

Dinosaur teeth are found on the armor and jaw of contemporary Iguana

(Photo: Public domain from Wikipedia)

One of the main methods used at the time to identify fossils was comparative anatomy – the study of similar and distinct external characteristics of organisms from a branch-related organism. A fundamental paradigm in this field is that there is a clear connection between the structure of the elements, their purpose and function. For example, vegetarian reptiles have a very different dental structure from predatory reptiles, and this applies to both herbivorous mammals and carnivorous mammals. Thus, the structure of the tooth that Mandel discovered greatly taught him much about the ancient creature to which it belonged, and convinced him that it was a vegetarian creature.

When Mandel first presented the tooth to members of the Royal Society of London, they rejected his findings and said the teeth were the cause of an ancient fish or a large rhinoceros. Opposition arose from a mixture of misconceptions with religious beliefs in biblical creation. One of the main enemies was the geologist William Buckland, one of the leaders of the Royal Society who discovered the first fossil fossil in 1824. Buckland first said it was a rhinoceros tooth. The invention of malagosaurus has already been recognized as a large lizard, but is still believed to be a carnivorous species.

Georges Cuvier, the father of comparative anatomy, the most senior French naturalist at the time, initially rejected Mandelin’s explanation, but soon withdrew it. In June 1824 he admitted his mistake and admitted that the teeth he had discovered belonged to a giant reptile, which was a vegetarian. With this kosher label, Mandal got the recognition he needed – a real creature that was actually extinct with the iguano.

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There is still a weighty question: What is iguanodone? There is no consensus even on its scale. Mandel’s first assessment relied on the relationship between the size of the fossil tooth he discovered and the iguana teeth. From this he concluded that the length of the giant creature had reached a hundred meters. He then lowered the rating to about 18-18 meters. We can now see what the physical structure of this fall was, for which a deep, emotional controversy arose over the ego and even evil in its name. Mandel believed that the focus was on the question of whether the extinct creature had set foot on two sturdy legs, or whether he had walked on all fours like a mammal, according to influential English archaeologist Richard Owen.

With iguana.  I ate the plantsWith iguana.  I ate the plants

With iguana. I ate the plants

(Description: Shutterstock)

Owen was a leading researcher who contributed greatly to the study of fossils and founded the Museum of Natural History. In addition, he was known for his tendency to borrow for the achievements of others. One of his main victims was Mandel, who created a professional and personal rivalry with deep hatred for a cause that is completely unclear to this day. For some years the two competed to understand the meteorological findings and to obtain the former ownership of their findings. Owen knew how to promote himself very well, so despite Mandel’s early involvement in identifying a group of endangered species, it was Owen who received the recognition when he coined the name “dinosaur” (i.e.: “reptile fear”). The whole team.

The controversy over the body structure of the Ecuadorian oven’s hand was long overdue. In 1849, with the identification of additional fossil bones of iguanodons, the mantle herb was able to prove that it had two short, slender front legs, so their body structure was very different from what Owen had been told – it had four sturdy legs and thick, deformed skin. But at this point Mandel was already unwell, far removed from the levels of influence, and passed away three years later.

Owen, meanwhile, dominated his concept. He started an exhibition of dinosaur sculptures in which there were two iguanotons – one standing on four, the other lying. The body composition of the two certainly matched Owen’s incorrect model. Thus the form of the extinct beast was established in the public consciousness for many years.

With iguanaWith iguana

With iguana

(Description: Shutterstock)

Mandel was instrumental in the study of dinosaurs and in understanding prehistoric wildlife in general. Among other things, he discovered an almost complete fossil of Hylosaurus and early fossil remains of Cetiosaurus and Belarus. Despite considerable efforts on the part of his bitter rival Owen, the Royal Society of London awarded him a medal at the end of his life for his work.

Despite his professional achievements, his personal life over the years has been one of pain and failure. In 1833 he moved with his family to Brighton, but was unable to build a clinic, where he established a loyal patient base. The family’s financial situation worsened until his wife left him and their house became a museum. In 1841 he was injured in a car accident in a car accident and later suffered severe back pain, which over time became a real disability. On November 10, 1852, he took a large dose of opium for pain relief, and died a few hours later.

A sign of the house where Gideon Mandel livedA sign of the house where Gideon Mandel lived

A sign of the house where Gideon Mandel lived

(Description: Shutterstock)

During autopsy, he was diagnosed with scoliosis in his back. In a particularly small revenge, his big rival Owen made sure to protect part of his spine and link it to the public display of human organs at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, where he worked as a curator. This model remained there for more than a century until it was destroyed due to lack of space. For many years his memory was almost forgotten. A monument to his memory in the remains of a quarry near Midstone was finally opened until 2000, where the first Ikanoton fossils were discovered in 1822.

Rami Schalwheed, Davidson Institute of Science Education

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Cary Douglas

About the Author: Cary Douglas

Cary Douglas is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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