William Parker Foulke was an American scientist and dinosaur artist, who uncovered the first dinosaur skeleton in America. In this article, you will learn what dinosaur he is credited with discovering, as well as information on Charles Gilmore, Benjamin Hawkins, Arthur Holmes and Thomas Huxley.
William Parker Foulke
(the Hadrosaurus) , a dinosaur with a duckbill. The fossilized bones of the creature were discovered in 1838 by workmen in soil at the John E. Hopkins farm in Haddonfield, New Jersey that dated back to the Cretaceous period. When Foulke heard of the discovery, he knew it was something significant. He worked alongside U.S. anatomist Joseph Leidy, who eventually excavated and named the dinosaur , Hadrosaurus foulkii, which translated into “Foulke’s big lizard.”
As a scientist that studied dinosaurs in North America and Asia, Charles Whitney Gilmore (1874-1945) focused on fossil lizards and dinosaurs from the Gobi Desert. He also named a handful of dinosaurs, including the Alamosaurus (dinosaur with a long neck and whip tail), Bactrosaurus (‘club spined lizard’), and Parrosaurus (an ornithopod dinosaur that was most likely a duckbill).
In 1854, the first dinosaur models were constructed by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins of England. He made and sold dinosaurs cast in plaster through the Ward’s catalogue of scientific supplies. The first dinosaurs that he made as models were the Igauanodon, Hylaeosaurus, Megalosaurus, Plesiosaurus and Ichthyosurus. He also made a life-size model of an Iguanodon out of concrete to entertainment guests at a dinner party for scientists. Partygoers at the major exhibition in London, England included the man who first coined the term, ‘dinosaur’ , Richard Owens. The creativity for the party went right down to the invitations, which were delivered to the invited on fake pterodactyl wings.
A clergyman and geologist from the United States named Edward B. Hitchcock (1793 – 1864) located the first large dinosaur trackways, which were in Connecticut. Hitchcock collected more than 20,000 dinosaur fossil footprints in his explorations. He believed that huge extinct birds had made the trackways.
The concept of a geologic time scale was the brainchild of Arthur Holmes (1890 – 1965), a British geologist who proposed the idea in 1913. The discovery of radioactivity had been made and with the help of radioisotope dating, Holmes was able to estimate that the Earth was about 4 billion years old, which was much older than the previously held belief.
The first scientist to note the similarity between birds and dinosaurs was Thomas H. Huxley (1825 – 1895), a British scientist who happened to be the friend of the infamous Charles Darwin. In addition to his dinosaur studies, he also named a couple of dinosaur and dinosaur families. The Acanthopholis was an armored dinosaur that walked on four legs. His name translated into ‘spiny one’. The Hypsilophodon (meaning ‘high crested tooth) was a plant eater with the ability to run quite fast on its two legs.