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    Reptiles in culture


    • Reptiles have featured in culture for centuries, from scaled and winged mythical dragons, versions of real reptiles such as deceptive snakes and dangerous crocodiles, to dinosaurs, discovered in the nineteenth century and by 1854 represented to the public as the large-scale sculptures of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs. Practical uses of reptiles include the manufacture of snake antivenom, and the farming of crocodiles, principally for leather but also for meat.

      A dragon is a legendary creature, typically with snake-like or reptilian traits, in the myths of both European and Chinese cultures, with counterparts in Japan, Korea and other East Asian countries.

      The plesiosaur Woolungasaurus is named after the Woolunga, a mythical reptile of Australia.

      Dinosaurs have been widely depicted in culture since the English palaeontologist Richard Owen coined the name dinosaur in 1842. As soon as 1854, the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs were on display to the public in south London. One dinosaur appeared in literature even earlier, as Charles Dickens placed a Megalosaurus in the first chapter of his novel Bleak House in 1852.

      The dinosaurs featured in books, films, television programs, artwork, and other media have been used for both education and entertainment. The depictions range from the realistic, as in the television documentaries of the 1990s and first decade of the 21st century, or the fantastic, as in the monster movies of the 1950s and 1960s.



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