We all know that there was a disaster at a place called Jurassic Park.
But what if something came first?
Soon this will be answered with an even more frightening question:
What if Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins' dinosaur statues weren't just statues? What if someone dared to make dinosaurs out of nothing but Modern Reptiles?
The famous but arrogant zoologist Richard Owen gave a lecture in 1842 about the classifications of reptiles. The lecture was given in London, and many people were present: scientists, reporters and others. Also the English bishop Samuel Wilberforce was present.
Samuel had devoted his live to God for more than 20 years now, he had been very active in the anti-slavery movement. But he had always been very worried about what modern scientists were teaching about the history of the earth. Around 1800 naturalist scientists had rejected all biblical account of the bible: the earth was older than 6000 years, the earth was never totally covered by the Great Flood. And George Cuvier had shown specimens of anormous sea reptiles that he said were extincted long ago.
But how can entire species become extincted, God's act of creation had been perfect. It is written in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:14: "I know that everything God creates will exist for ever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him." Allways scientists had agreed with that, the great scientist Linnaeus had written that it was very unlikely "that man could cause the extinction of any species". But now...
Richard Owen described the specimens of three giant lizards: Iguanodon, Megalosaurus and Hylaeosaurus. He told that if they were still alive, "western explorers would have found them by now". The said these giant reptiles belonged to a larger group he called "Dinosauria".
The crowd applauded.
Let it not be true
"Can it be true that God let certain species die out?" Samuel asked a William Howley, the Archbishop of Canterbury. "It is what scientists have discovered, 'nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it'. Maybe your translation or interpretation of that Ecclesiastes verse isn't right. You know, maybe God has created everything in a mysterious way that isn't as clear as we thought."
That was precisely what Samuel had told those of his flock who had asked about it. He had noticed this answer wasn't convincing for many people. Samuel sighted, "still, there will be lots of people in our flock that will start to doubt over the bible if they hear that the dinosaurs died out."
"Well, we can't do much about that, don't we?" Samuel became angry. "This can not cost us a single soul! We must come up with something more convincing." "Like what? Saying the dinosaurs didn't die out and still live somewhere in the jungles of Africa or Brazil?"
"No-one will buy that... they have to see they are still alive."
Howley looked very strange at the bishop. "You want to show real dinosaurs to the public?" "No no, that is impossible. But maybe we can show something that looks like them."
Howley shook his head, "so, you are willing to lie in the name of Christ? Just think of what will happen if it comes out?"
Samuel wanted to say something, but Howley continued. "Furthermore, how can we get dinosaurs? Growing Iguana's of 5 meters long and glue points or their noses and tails?"
Samuel looked to the ground and said: "we can't deceive our flock. It is out of the question...
But suppose: a mad scientist creates a creature that looks like a dinosaur. In the first months everyone will be excited and simply want them to be real. After that skeptic scientists investigate the creatures and prove they are fakes..."
Samuel's assistant Brother Sebastian, nicknamed "Bastion-Monk", walked to the Archbishop until he stood right in front of him, he looked into his eyes, "that will give us at least a year to come up with a more convincing explanation".
The Archbishop looked in Samuel's direction. "But who could do this?"
Bastion Monk answered: "a brilliant Physiologist from the University of London... Whose unethical experiments are just exposed... and who is in a dear need of money to flee England..."
Bastion Monk entered the laboratory of Dr. Moreau. Dr. Moreau had been an eminent physiologist in London before a journalist exposed his gruesome experiments in vivisection. He was banned from the University, and therefore he was now searching for money to flee England.
Everywhere in the lab where cages with birds, frogs and rats. Dr. Moreau was packing the machines and specimens that belonged to him. Dr. Moreau was a middle ages man. He had short white hair. He didn't had the facial expression of an unscrupulous men; he was a typical Britisch gentlemen. Moreau looked like he hadn't slept for the last nights.
An awkward introduction followed. It was clear that Moreau was angry and frustrated.
"Dr. Moreau, I've heared you're seeking money to leave England." "Yes priest, I want to move to an island where I can continue my work. Have you come to tell me I must stop playing God?"
"I certainly would try to stop these horrors! But I am now faced with a more immediate problem, and you might be able to solve it."
Dr. Moreau asked, "and what do I gain with it?" "We can pay you well," said Bastion Monk. Hoping that this sentence would take away the need for a long persuasive talk. "And than I mean really well." Moreau looked at the priest and became interested, "what is it you want? Angels?" Bastion Monk became angry, "don't blaspheme, I want you to create reptiles that look like dinosaurs."
Moreau started to laugh. Dr. Moreau was one of those saturnine people who smile with the corners of the mouth down. "So, the Church wants to cover up that some of Gods creations weren't good enough to survive." Bastion Monk ignored the insults. "Can you create them Doctor?" Moreau looked around and answered: "with proper funding, I can have all three species within 7 years..."
"I guess we have a deal then."
"Hmmm, not so fast... I gues you want me to take full responsibility for the creatures?" Sebastian answered: "If... no, when an investigation starts, all traces must lead to YOU." "Well, I already have a bad name, I can live with that."
The church gave Dr. Moreau enough money to buy a laboratory far from London. Here he had to recreate the dinosaurs. The work was hard, almost nothing was known about these creatures.
He started with the Iguanodon. Gideon Mantell and Richard Owen predicted that Iguanodon had the same body plan as a modern Iguana. Only much more bigger and a horn on his nose. Therefore Dr. Moreau had ordered a large number of Iguana's and other reptiles. He first dissected many to know their body plan.
The next step whas to add organs and body fluids from other creatures to the Iguana's. Since the creatures were so small, it was a hard job.
It was then that Moreau knew that these creatures had to grow first. Who do you let a reptile grow until it reaches a length of 6 meters... Physiologists knew that when an animal or plant grows its blood or fluid must contain a substance that causes growth.
Moreau knew two scientists who had secretly identified this substance... and isolated it.
Moreau entered a the chemist laboratory of the University. There he saw two very familiar faces. Bensington, a silent research chemist. The other was the old Professor Redwood, who after studying reaction times had taken an interest in Auxology, the study of growth.
Professor Redwood turned around with and his face turned grim. "Look who is sneaking into my lab, the 'horror scientist'. And here I was hoping that you had left our country." "I had hope no less to leave behind the traitor that ruined my life's work, Redwood. However, the gods are just and I've been given a windfall of money." Redwood stared at him. "Continental transcendentalism."
"I am willing to share a large part of it in exchange for your help." Redwood silently walked past Moreau and then stood still. Their backs were facing each other. "And... what is precisely the 'help' you want of me?"
"I know what you and Bensington have been working on, Redwood. You have discovered and isolated the compound that causes growth. The compound you so transcedentaly dubbed The Food of the Gods." "We call it Herakleophorbia now."
"I also know you are in need of money too. The university didn't wanted to fund your search to the growth-compound. That is why you've done all your research on private sources. I had a good laugh when I heard that your field experiment is carried out by a slovenly couple on a ruin-of-a-farm in Kent."
"IF I had lived in Germany, I'd have been given massive fundings to make this discovery of the century! But here, the intelligentia is run by air heads who wouldn't recognise a genius if it stood before them."
"Give me the Food of the Gods, and you will have all the funding you want."
Redwood and Bensington didn't wanted to give their discovery away while it was still in the experimental phase. They wanted to know what Moreau was gonna use the compound for, but Moreau could not. At the end of a long argument Redwood and Bensington agreed to give Moreau the Herakleophorbia on the condition that, whatever Moreau was going to use it for, only they would get credit for it."
"Don't worry gentlemen, I will make sure you get all the credit you deserve."
Bastion Monk walked through the hall of Moreau's laboratory. It was a total mess. Corpses of a plethora of creatures were everywhere. Some creatures were rather strange. Moreau's assistant Montgomery was cutting in the belly of a Iguana. However, this Iguana was 3 meters tall! Sebastian had never seen anything like it.
Moreau entered the lab. "Inspecting our progress, aren't you brother?" "You asked me to come." "Yes, but not in the lab. Here is nothing we could use the help of a monk with." Moreau asked Sebastian to follow him.
The other part of the building looked like a Menagerie. The were cages with all sorts of animals. Crocodiles, snakes, iguanas, lizards, Komodo dragons, birds and elks.
"This is what I wanted to show you," said Moreau and he walked to a cage. In it was a gigantic deer or elk. It stood about 2.1 metres (6.9 ft) tall at the shoulders, and it had large antlers measuring 3.65 m (12.0 ft) from tip to tip.
"What do you think of my Megaloceros giganteus, brother?" Before he could say a word Moreau continued. "It is nothing special. I gave a common deer some of the Food of the Gods and changed its antlers a bit. The dinosaurs will require much more work."
Then Moreau looked at Bastion Monk. "This is probably one of the smallest creatures I have to create. I don't have enough space to keep them, and no time to feed them properly. I want you to seek a place for these monsters and people who can contain and feed them. Some cover story might come in handy too, don't you think?"
"I had no idea you were that advanced already, doctor." "As I said, I didn't had to put much work into this monster. But I want it out of my lab, I can't spare the space."
Lord John Roxton
- ↑ Dr. Moreau is taking from the novel The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells.
- ↑ Both characters are taken from the novel The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth by H. G. Wells.