Crystal Palace dinosaurs preserved in 3D scans

3D model of one of the Crystal Palace dinosaurs
Megalosaurus bucklandii: a 3D model of one of the famous Grade I listed Victorian sculptures from Crystal Palace Park (Image: Historic England).

The famous Crystal Palace dinosaur sculptures can now be viewed as interactive 3D models.

Historic England, in collaboration with the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, developed the 3D models. There are 29 Victorian Grade I listed sculptures in the south London park.

The dimensionally accurate photogrammetric models have been created from multiple digital scans of the famous beasts.

People can now get up close and personal with the dinosaurs without disrupting the vulnerable sculptures or their setting on ‘Dino Island’. The models also allow conservators to benchmark the condition of the fragile sculptures, decide where repairs are most needed, and help shape plans for their maintenance into the future.

The scanning and subsequent modelling was undertaken by Historic England’s geospatial survey team, in collaboration with the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs.

The Dinosaurs were created between 1853 and 1855 by artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, as part of the original design of Crystal Palace Park. The sculptures are the world’s first attempt to model extinct animals at life-size scale, using fossil remains as evidence. This was before the publication of Charles Darwin’s On The Origin Of Species – the word ‘dinosaur’ had only been coined a decade earlier, in 1842.

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