1838 Maidstone Iguanodon 'Mantell piece'

1838 Maidstone Iguanodon 'Mantell piece'


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The famous 'Mantell piece', a rock slab containing the most complete set of articulated dinosaur bones discovered up to that time - those of an iguanodon found in Maidstone, Kent. It was in the possession of Gideon Mantell and here appears in his "Wonders of Geology" (1838), published by Relphe and Fletcher, drawn by Dinkel and lithographed by George Sharf (with later tinting). From these and other fossil bones Mantell made estimates of the size of this saurian based on extant land iguanas. Indeed this piece is considered the type specimen. The Mantell piece was originally found by a quarry owner, W.H. Bensted. Bensted would not take Mantell's offering price of £10. It eventually came into Mantell's possession only after a group of his friends raised the £25 Bensted wanted. It was, as Mantell noted, one of the most extraordinary specimens in Europe.

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