Reptiles On The Rocks by William T. Blows

Picture of the front page of Reptiles On The Rocks by William T Blows
Reptiles On The Rocks by William T Blows

Acknowledgments

My gratitude is extended to the following people for their help and advice:

  • Mr. R.L.E. Ford
  • Dr. A. Insole
  • Miss M. Carter
  • Miss G.L. Chew
  • Mr. S. Bain (Members of the Woolwich Subaqua Club)
  • Palaeontographical Society for permission to quote from Owen's monograph

Foreword

William Blows — amateur palaeontologist, classical composer, treasure hunter, charge nurse of a London Accident Centre, keen on space research and the supernatural is indeed a man of many faces.

Meeting William Blows four years ago has changed my life and my attitudes on life. A man who works hard deserves rewards, but here is a man who works to the limit. I have found great adventure and enjoyment in knowing William in respect for the many trips to the Isle of Wight digging for remains of dinosaurs. Also to Scotland in search of the Loch Ness Monster and buried treasure plus combined efforts in the field of classical music, putting on concerts for the general public. A look into the unknown world of the U.F.O. and making stories of unusual events including the Bermuda Triangle on Earth, to our most distant planet Pluto on which William has written his second symphony.

Here in this book, William journeys back in time to the land of prehistoric dinosaurs, giant beasts that roamed wild and free. I have been fortunate in being part of this adventure, an adventure which led to the Isle of Wight (affectionately known as Iguanodon Island in this book) and the excavation of the 1976 skeleton. Being present when making the discovery of the dinosaur footprints in March 1977 was an incredible experience, for these prints are the first to be found on the Island since the 1860's' It all seems worthwhile when you get results and if anyone should get results it's William Blows.

In the pages that follow you will be fascinated by the story as it actually happened, amazed by the photographs displayed and perhaps after reading the last page you will want to journey back in time to the land of dinosaurs. They are still there just as they were 120 million years ago, just waiting to be discovered.

Terence R. M. Hunter

Introduction

Picture of William T Blows
The author

An interest and knowledge of fossils usually stems from an early age and develops over the years. It may be sparked off by a visit to the Natural History Museum, or an interesting talk given at school. My own interest began at about the age of seven when I can remember dragging my parents to South Kensington to see the giant monsters.

But every enthusiast's dream of finding 'the big one' is rarely fulfilled, and so I must consider my exploits into the world of dinosaurs as having been extremely lucky. Over the years, I have located many single fossils, some very interesting; two partial skeletons and a sandstone ledge covered with dinosaur footprints. But is it really all luck? I think not, for knowledge of the subject, where to look and what to look for, is vital and increases one's chances of being lucky. To illustrate this, I have enjoyed the story of a friend of mine who took with him on a fossil trip a complete novice. The beginner searched in dismay then turned to my friend and asked "Where are these dinosaur bones you spoke about then?" To this, my friend simply replied "Well, if you don't want that one you've got your foot on, I'll have it!"

To begin with, then, the beginner must read the subject well. There are many good books available today suitable for all age groups that teach the basic fundamentals of geology and palaeontology. It is not the function of this book, however, to provide this basic knowledge, as I have written an account of my own major discoveries supported with some insight into the specific localities and animals involved. But it is a dual account as I have tried to make it interesting reading for the public to enjoy as well as semi-scientific enough to be of value to the specialist. I hope 'Reptiles on the Rocks' will find a place on the household bookshelf as well as in the scientific libraries.

Since their first discovery in England in 1825, dinosaurs have captured the imagination of men in all walks of life; and still do so today. But they have earned themselves the reputation of being stupid and unsuccessful in evolutionary terms. Thanks to much modern scientific research this image is being replaced by some incredible new thinking. We now hear talk of dinosaurs, which are actually reptiles, being hot blooded; of flying reptiles having body hair and now scientists talk of our present day birds as actually being a group of living dinosaurs! We are indeed entering a new age in palaeontology.

We are also entering a subject where the amateur is very important. Many men and women spend their spare hours roaming the cliffs and quarries of England, and abroad, in search of fossils. Some of the most important finds are made by amateurs and there are records of these throughout the history of fossil collecting. Indeed, without the amateur, many fine specimens would have been lost forever. At this point I feel I must mention one such person, whose dedication to palaeontology gave us many fine specimens including several new to science. He was Reverand William Fox of Brighstone parish on the Isle of Wight, after whom the dinosaurs Hypsilophodon foxi and Polacanthus foxi have been named. It is in his footsteps that the modern amateur on the Isle of Wight treads today.

That brings us to the principal subject of the book, the Isle of Wight. This enchanted island just off the Hampshire coast is the home of the Summer holiday-maker and retired city dweller. So often I am asked 'Why the Isle of Wight for dinosaurs?' This question and others are answered in chapter one of 'Reptiles on the Rocks'.

William T. Blows

This page was last edited on: 4th March, 2015 06:16:20

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