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Show Me the Bone – Reconstructing Prehistoric Monsters in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Show Me the Bone: Reconstructing Prehistoric Monsters in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America

Gowan Dawson


In the nineteenth century paleontologists claimed that, from just a single bone, they could identify and sometimes even reconstruct previously unknown prehistoric creatures. Such extraordinary displays of predictive reasoning were accomplished through the law of correlation, which proposed that each element of an animal corresponds mutually with all the others. Although this law, which was pivotal in the development of the new science of paleontology, was formulated by Georges Cuvier amidst the tumult of post-revolutionary Paris, it was in Britain and America that it took particular hold. Pale ... More

Keywords: paleontology, popularization of science, scientific naturalism, Georges Cuvier, Richard Owen, Henry Huxley, correlation, Long Nineteenth Century, prehistoric, fiction

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780226332734
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226332871.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Gowan Dawson, author
University of Leicester

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Front Matter

Part I Arrival, 1795–1839: Translations and Appropriations

Part II Triumph, 1839–54: Bones, Serials, and Models

Part III Overthrow, 1854–62: Scientific Naturalists, Popularizers, and Cannibals

Part IV Afterlife, 1862–1917: Missing Links and Hidden Clues