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The Dinosaur Hunters: A True Story of Scientific Rivalry and the Discovery of the Prehistoric World (Anglais) Cassette – Livre audio, 2 juillet 2001

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5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Utterly first rate adventure story 31 mai 2009
Par Robert Moore - Publié sur
Format: Broché
TERRIBLE LIZARD (or THE DINOSAUR HUNTERS in its reprint) is a first rate history of the period in the early 19th century when a group of individuals began, for the first time, to understand the fossils that had been known for some time as the remains of giant reptiles who lived in a time that predated human history. But it is also very much an adventure story, and like all good adventure stories, it has a hero, a heroine, an excellent set of supporting characters, and, of course, a dastardly villain. In a word, the story told is how Gideon Mantell undertook much of the work in formulating the earliest conception of giant reptiles who lived eons before humans but had his achievement appropriated by the gifted but ambitious and devious Richard Owen.

The heroine of the story is Mary Anning, who sparked the interest of the early geologists by her uncanning ability to unearth fossils and near complete skeletons from the area around Lyme Regis in southern England. Hers is a somewhat sad story, for while she repeatedly spurs science on by her remarkable discoveries, she lives her life in a perpetual struggle against poverty. Nevertheless, the way her contributions, despite her being merely the daughter of a carpenter who died while she was a child, gain her the respect and esteem of some of the leading scientists in England, is inspiring.

The hero of the story, and the individual around whom much of the book revolves, is Gideon Mantell. Despite working as a physician with a brutally demanding schedule, Mantell managed to build up a first rate collection of fossil remains, and became the first person to identify and describe most of the first dinosaurs to be discovered. Ignored at first because of his social and amateur status, Mantell gradually gained the respect of his peers and gained admittance to the Royal Society. Despite this, he was never able to obtain patronage or a scientific position that would have allowed him to pursue his studies full time. His plight is the source of much of the pathos of the book.

The villain of the story is the overly ambitious and somewhat sadistic Richard Owen, who provided us with the word "dinosaur" but who also attempted to claim as his own much of the work done by Mantell and others. In contrast to Mantell, Owen early in his life obtains positions that allow him to study anatomy full time, and enjoys the patronage of the nation as he gains more and more power. His arrogance, dishonesty, lust for power, and his unremitting attempt to coopt the credit rightfully belonging to others, made me wonder if the title of the book in part refers to him.

Along the way, we encounter a number of other extraordinary characters, from the famed French anatomist Georges Cuvier to William Buckland--who with Mantell was the first to describe the dinosaurs--to the great geologist Charles Lyell to Charles Darwin.

A thoroughly enjoyable history that I can heartily recommend to anyone interested in intellectual history, paleontology, or just a flat out adventure tale.
Another excellent Deborah Cadbury biographical history 3 septembre 2013
Par K - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Yet another excellent historical / biographical work by Deborah Cadbury. Like The Chocolate Wars and Space Race, it's as much a collection of real-feeling and relatable biographies as a stroll through history. The story is essentially carried by the linked biographies of the several main players, in this case in the field of early geology, palaeontology, etc. Informative historically and an enjoyable collection of personal stories. Very much recommended, as are all of her other books of similar construction.
Fantastic 14 août 2013
Par Wombat Ten Hoopen - Publié sur
Format: Broché
A non fiction thought provoking book about dinosaur hunters set in the early 19th century. A riveting book about the discovery of the prehistoric world and a true story of scientific rivalry.
6 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
New title used in North America 5 octobre 2006
Par Angela R. Gottfred - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This book was issued in North America with the title _Terrible Lizard: The First Dinosaur Hunters and the Birth of a New Science_.
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