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Part of Megalosaurus bone was discovered in a quarry in England in 1676. Although it was correctly identified as the femur from a large animal, but it was wrongly thought to be the thigh bone of a giant human! Further discoveries were made in the 19th century, starting from 1815 and acquired by William Buckland. In 1818, French anatomist, Georges Cuvier, visited, and realized the bones were from a giant lizard-like creature, and thus in 1824, Buckland reported and named the animal in a report entitled "Notice on the Megalosaurus or Great Fossil Lizard of Stonesfield". Megalosaurus was in fact the first dinosaur named - in fact it had its name, even before the word dinosaur existed - the term "dinosauria" was only coined by Sir Richard Owen in 1842.
Early reconstructions of Megalosaurus (such as the one found at Dinosaur Court) tend depict the animal as a heavily-built quadruped (to add to the confusion, some early literature refers to all dinosaurs found in Europe as Megalosaurus). We now know however that Megalosaurus was a bipedal carnivore with relatively short fore limbs.
In addition to fossils of Megalosaurus bones, scientists have also discovered fossils of trackways (footprints) made by the animal. A replica of one such trackway can be found on the lawn outside the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
Megalosaurus was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived from 181 to 169 million years ago
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