The Dragon Seekers: How an Extraordinary Circle of Fossilists Discovered the Dinosaurs and Paved the Way for Darwin


Set in nineteenth-century England, The Dragon Seekers chronicles the amazing discoveries of the first fossilists, whose findings in geology and paleontology led to the discovery of the age of dinosaurs. The intriguing cast of characters includes Mary Anning, a working-class woman who became one of the most successful fossil collectors of all time; Thomas Hawkins, another amateur collector who "improved upon" fossils in order to increase their market value; the eccentric William Buckland, discoverer of the world's first dinosaur (Megalosaurus), and Richard Owen, an expert anatomist, who synthesized the discoveries of the age and ultimately coined the word "dinosaur" in 1842. Christopher McGowan takes us back to a time when the new sciences of geology and paleontology were as young and vibrant as genetic engineering is today. Through heated public debates on everything from the age of the earth to the notion of extinction, the Dragon Seekers initiated the shift from a biblical to a scientific interpretation of the remote past. In this way, they laid the intellectual groundwork for Darwin's revolutionary ideas, and launched a global obse