Prior to their extinction 65 million years ago, dinosaurs were very successful creatures who completely dominated Earth for over 150 million years. They dominated the vast open spaces, the wild primordial oceans and even the air. That is why it is so important to study their remains. Studying fossils allows us to learn what made these magnificent creatures so successful.
Not all fossile discoveries are equal, however. Some are more important than others. Today, we are going to look at some of the most famous fossil discoveries on the planet.
Megalosaurus was the first dinosaur fossil to be discovered and scientifically classified. It was discovered in a limestone quarry in Oxfordshire, England in 1676. When it was discovered it was sent to the first curator of the Ashmolean Museum, Robert Plot. He originally misdiagnosed the fossil remains as that of a giant human, but researchers now know that it was actually the thigh bone of Megalosaurus.
One of the most famous fossil discoveries of the last century is probably the discovery of Australopithecus, also known as Lucy. This hominid was discovered in Ethiopia’s Afar Depression at Hadar. This fossil is believed to be 3.2 million years old . It was discovered in 1974 by a team of archeologists that included Maurice Taieb, Tom Gray, Donald Johanson and Yves Coppens. This species is believed to support that theory that bipedal movement preceded the development of intelligence in humans.
The first Stegosaurus fossils were found by Othniel Marsh in the summer of 1877. He discovered them in Morrison, Colorado USA. Stegosaurus was a plant eating quadruped that is most known for a series of plates and tail spikes. This creature is believed to have lived over 150 million years ago.