100.0 MB (8.7 MB compressed)
6913 x 5055 pixels
58.4 x 42.9 cm ⏐ 23.0 x 16.9 in (300dpi)
PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Composite description and plate of "the big fossil animal" (later named Mosasaur hoffmanii) from Vol. III, Cuvier's "Ossamens Fossiles". The Maastricht Mosasaur was the first giant prehistoric reptile to be found and described by science. It prompted enlightenment scholars to consider that the world might once have been populated by different creatures to those found today. It was excavated in the St. Peters Bergs cave system by miners, and publicised widely by the naturalist Johann Hoffman. It was later captured by French Revolutionary forces in Holland and taken to Paris. A Dutch naturalist Adriaan Camper realised the beast was allied to the lizards in 1799. In 1808 Georges Cuvier confirmed this conclusion and published it in his seminal paleontology work "Ossamens Fossiles" (the pages in this image). It was not actually named Mosasaurus ("Meuse reptile") in 1822.
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