International Dinosaur Discoveries

Early Dinosaur History Outside the United States

Who was first to reconstruct the way dinosaurs behaved?

Louis Dollo (1857–1931), a French mining engineer, was the first to interpret the remains of dinosaurs with an eye toward reconstructing their lifestyles. In 1878, the remains of approximately 40 Iguanodon were discovered in the Fosse Sainte-Barbe coal mine near the town Bernissart in southwestern Belgium. Their excavation took three years. Dollo spent the rest of his life assembling, studying, and interpreting the fossil remains. In 1882, he started as an assistant naturalist at the Royal Natural History Museum in Brussels, Belgium; in 1904, he became director of the museum, based on the strength of his scientific discoveries associated with the Iguanodon. Not only did he assemble the bones for exhibit and write papers concerning his findings, but he also attempted to describe the behavior of these animals.

French scientist Georges Cuvier came up with the theory that species go extinct, which was counter to the commonly accepted idea that the species we see today have always been around (iStock).

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