A Short History of Nearly Everything - Study Guide Part 2, Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Bill Bryson
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In 1789, a massive thighbone was found in New Jersey. The discovery was so little heralded that no one remembers the name of the finder and the bone itself has been permanently misplaced. The owner sent it to Dr. Caspar Wistar, who placed this first dinosaur bone in a storeroom for 50 years until it disappeared. Wistar missed the opportunity to become, as an American, the first person to describe a dinosaur.

In France, the Compte de Buffon was claiming that everything in the new world was inferior to the old. Water was stagnate, soil unproductive and life forms necessarily small, weak and frail. De Buffon accused the indigenous people of the new world of being tiny and bird-like, with undersized sex organs and a low sex drive.

Meanwhile, Georges Cuvier of France was compiling the first written description of an enormous creature from the...

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This section contains 424 words
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