A new play recalls the battle in the scientific establishment that denied a cobbler’s son credit for a major discovery
He was the scientist who made one of the planet’s most significant discoveries: the existence of dinosaurs. Yet Gideon Mantell’s place in history has for two centuries been overshadowed by a rival who stole his thunder. Now, Mantell is finally set to get his moment in the spotlight, in a new play that charts the little-known story of a man that science left behind.
Mantell’s discovery, in 1822, of an enormous fossil during a dig in a Sussex quarry would later be classified as the first known Iguanodon tooth. Mantell, the son of a cobbler, had a eureka moment, realising the items he was unearthing belonged to a previously unknown creature.