The first complete dinosaur skeleton was collected 162 years after the find

World science is not developing as systematically and comprehensively as we would like, very often the whims of fate influence research. For example, the fate of the skeletal remains, which could become the first fully assembled dinosaur skeleton in history. Instead, the bones, 193 million years old, have been gathering dust in the vault of the Natural History Museum in London for a century and a half, and have only recently been reconstructed and studied.

It is believed that the very first dinosaur bones were found in 1824, and the term "dinosaur" was coined by Richard Owen in 1842. The first finds were very scattered bones, which made it possible to draw conclusions only about the size of ancient creatures, but not about their appearance and body structure. As a result, at the first thematic exhibition in London's Crystal Palace in 1854, visitors saw grotesque figures made of bones and concrete, similar to overgrown monitor lizards.

The sought-after skeleton of a skeelidosaur in 1858 was found by James Harrison, in a quarry near Charmouth in west Dorset (England). The bones were mixed with the remains of other animals, so Richard Owen of the British Museum, who examined them, ordered them to dig further in order to collect more material for analysis. Harrison did just that - within a year he dug up all the missing fragments, but Owen's interest dried up and he did not engage in the find.

162 years later, scientist David Norman of the University of Cambridge finally completed the necessary work and assembled the skeleton. Surprised to himself, he discovered that the skeelidosaurus had horns at the back of the skull, its muzzle was protected by bony growths, and its entire body was covered with two layers of protection, in the form of bone pins and plates. From this it was concluded that the skeelidosaurus was the direct ancestor of the ankylosaurus, which retained this armor, but in addition to it grew a spiked tail similar to a heavy mace.