and shares, then his practice. Most of his grand, fossil-laden museum of a house was let and the family had to go into lodgings.

Eventually, in 1838, Mantell's collections had to be sold and after protracted negotiations were bought by the British Museum for £4087. Mantell moved to Clapham in south London, hoping to set up a new practice. His long-suffering wife left him, as did the older children. His son Walter, a newly qualified doctor, emigrated to New Zealand. Tragically, a younger daughter, Hannah, died and Mantell fell into deep despair. And there was a new rival in the study of the giant denizens of the geological past, a young man called Richard Owen. Neither Buckland nor Mantell, the pioneers of the terrestrial saurians, were to take the big prize: Owen beat them both to it. But Mantell was the first scientist to establish that giant extinct saurians had once lived in the landscapes of Cretaceous times.

Million Years Ago

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