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Dinosaur: From Sir Richard Owen to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Nikolas searches new approaches for the literary critic based on the synthesis of the scientific and artistic doctrines.

Richard Owen, the British Scientist Who Baptized Dinosaurs

The British Scientist

The British Scientist

The Term Dinosaur

  • Scientists started studying dinosaurs in the 1820s. They found the bones of a great land reptile under the soil of English countryside. Sir Richard Owen, the first, proposed the term "dinosaur" in 1842. This word is from the Ancient Greek word "deinos", i.e. terrible, and sauros - "lizard" or "reptile".
  • He was a leading British comparative anatomist, museum curator, and paleontologist. He used Dinosauria in the Report of the British Association. As the scientist was paleontologist, he described many species of dinosaurs.
  • The pupils of Darwin considered Richard Owen as a no-evolutionist and an anti-evolutionist. Owen had been working in the sphere of descriptive or rational morphology. Owen's concept of evolution is a coherent consequence of von Baer's divergent development.

New Dinosaur Species is Largest Found in Australia



Power of Imagination

  • The Lost World of Conan Doyle united in one range of time and space different epochs.
  • There were gigantic dinosaurs of Mesozoic era. Their period was of hundreds a million years ago.
  • Also, there were Fororakos, Toxodons of Cenozoic era. Further, anthropoid apes for which a modern science gives 25 millions years.
  • The disparities in time and space of C. Doyle had an acute reaction from the part of specialists. For example, in 1915 the famous Russian scientist V. Obrutchev wrote the novel "Plutonia". He wanted counterbalance Conan Doyle and Jules Verne. However, the author overcharged his novel with scientific objectivity and it had no artistic success.
  • Conan Doyle was knowing about the Law of Irreversible Evolution. Belgian scientist Louis Dollo formulated it. On the contrary, he created an original artistic and scientific fantastic world. There had been some facts which influenced on the artist's intention. Firstly, it was the book of Professor R.Lankester "Extinct animals".
  • Conan Doyle shared interest in every possible way to paleontology. In his billiards' room he kept two moulds from the footprints of Iguanodon. He found it in the limes of Crowborough.
  • There was his dinner's speech in the Queen Scientific Society. One was honouring Robert Peery, head of the expedition to the Northern Pole. Conan Doyle said about diminution of unknown places on the Earth. He wanted to discover unknown territory for outstanding literary adventures. He did it in his mind for that moment. Moreover, no doubt, the Dinosaur of R. Owen strengthened his intention about The Lost World.

Conan Doyle With His Irish Ternier

British Writer

British Writer

Pterodactyl, from Greek Pterodactulos, Meaning "Winged Finger", was Described by Italian Scientist Cosimo Alessandro Collini in 1784

Prehistoric bird

Prehistoric bird

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Scientific Terms in the Lost World

Conan Doyle and Using of Scientific Terms in His Creative ActivitiesDinosaursSpecies of Dinosaurs

The Lost World



Pterodactylus or Dimorphodon




For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. When did naturalists start studying dinosaurs constantly?
    • 400 years ago
    • 350 years ago
    • 200 years ago
  2. Where did Robert Plot find a strange bone in 1677?
    • In the sea water
    • In the fresh water of the home pond
    • In a limestone quarry
  3. When and where did Richard Brookes re-print Plot's illustration?
    • In 1763, six-volume set
    • In 1767, seven-volume set
    • In 1770, nine-volume collection

Answer Key

  1. 400 years ago
  2. In a limestone quarry
  3. In 1763, six-volume set

Michael Crichton

Trustworthiness of the Image of Professor Challenger, Scientist, in Literature

Conan Doyle created a new character of modern scientist.

  • Professor Challenger, as a real scientist, formulates his own hypothesis. It is about the lost world and its inhabitants. South America is a granite continent with former and actual volcanic activities. That's why in some places these circumstances suspended the ordinary laws of Nature. The observed dinosaurs, pterodactyl and stegosaurus, have conserved due to those accidental conditions.
  • Challenger continues to practice the experimental method of famous F. Bacon. The hypothesis is following the Darwin's theory partly. The scene between Professor Challenger and the ape-male has an ironical shade.

Successful Tandem

  1. Looking at scientific and literary texts in tandem, we will focus on lost worlds. They are both real and imagined, compliment each other successfully.
  2. It will help to confirm the scientific hypothesis in speculative fiction of Conan Doyle, and to ground the appearance of dinosaurs in the novel. Also, it pays attention to the Greek and Latin roots of English scientific terms. Richard Owen made a great contribution in it, inventing the term Dinosaur.

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