Two centuries ago, naturalists began to realize that the enormous, fossilized bones they'd been finding all over the world belonged to extinct animals. A lot of extinct animals, who had once ruled the planet and were now mysteriously gone. Speculation about these creatures reached a fever pitch, resulting in drawings like these.

Reptiles restored, from the remains of which are to be found in a fossil state in Tilgate Forest, Sussex, a painting by George Scharf, after the research of Gideon Mantell

Mantell examined some fossil teeth in the 1820s belonged to a herbivorous reptile. After he saw teeth from an iguana, he wrongly surmised that the ancient reptile was simply a giant lizard. – according to Strange Science.

(via The University of Chicago Press Books)

A Cretaceous landscape with Gideon Mantell's Iguanodons, by Josef Kuwasseg, 1851

(via Strange Science)

An Iguanodon and a Hyleosaurus, by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, 1853

(via Copyright Expired)

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Gigantic lizards and some Pterosauria, by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, 1853

(via Copyright Expired)

Plesiosaurus and Ichthyosaurus,on a watercolour painting by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, 1853

(via Copyright Expired)

Illustrations from La Terre avant le déluge, by Louis Figuier, 1863

Megatherium

An Ichthyosaurus and a Plesiosaurus

A Hylaeosaurus and Teleosaurus

An Iguanodon and Megalosaurus fighting

(via Biblioteca de la Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias del Trabajo de la Universidad de Sevilla)

Illustrations from Les animaux d'autrefois by Victor Meunier, 1869

Palaeotherium

Anoplotherium

Deinotherium

Teleosaurus

Megalosaurus

Hylaeosaurus

Iguanodon

Pterodactylus

Rhamphorhynchus

Chirotherium

(via Bibliothèque nationale de France)