Frederick York, Mastodon and Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus, photographs

The British Museum, London, England, around AD 1875

Are there dinosaurs at the British Museum?

In the nineteenth century there were 'dinosaurs' of sorts on display at the British Museum as part of the natural history collections, though not the large monster-like creatures loved by Hollywood, now displayed prominently at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington.

The name 'dinosaur' was first used in 1841 by Richard Owen (1804-92), Superintendent of the Museum's Natural History Departments, who was able to reconstruct extinct animals from just a few bone remains. Later major fossil discoveries proved the accuracy of his reconstructions.

Popular interest in dinosaurs was first fired during the Great Exhibition of 1851. At the suggestion of Prince Albert, life-sized stone models were sculpted under Richard Owen's supervision and placed in the grounds of the Crystal Palace. There was not enough space to display anything so huge here at the Museum. However, 'reptilian remains - amongst them may be first noticed the Dinosaurus' could be seen by the late 1850s in what is now Room 62 (The Roxie Walker Galleries of Egyptian funerary archaeology) until they were transferred to the Natural History Museum during the early 1880s. There was also a skeleton of a mastodon (an extinct elephant-like creature) on show in Room 60.

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Frederick York, Mastodon and Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus, photographs

Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus

  • Mastodon



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Height: 110.000 mm
Width: 95.000 mm

Museum number

Archives ? (York Album)


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