Interactive dinosaur models based on those in Crystal Palace Park are now available to view online for the first time.
The popular original models are roughly 170 years old and require restoration, something the digital scans should aid with.
The models have taken months to complete and were created using multiple digital scans of the famous Grade I-listed beasts. The project was undertaken by Historic England’s Geospatial Survey Team in collaboration with Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs.
Simon Buteux, Partnerships Team Leader at Historic England, said: “The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs were a milestone in the public outreach of science when they were first created, and they still have admirers near and far.
“Our new models will let even more people get to know these wonderful prehistoric beasts. The scans will also help us to better understand the sculptures’ conservation problems and aid with their restoration.”
Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins is thought to have been the world’s first sculptor to have modelled extinct animals at life size. Amongst the collection is a whole host of ancient mammals, amphibians and flying reptiles.
His creation of dinosaurs was based loosely on fossil remains and designed only a decade after the word ‘dinosaur’ was coined in 1842.
However, a lack of information available to Hawkins during the mid-1800s means that only a few of the popular life-size models are truly dinosaurs.
Mr Buteux said: “We don’t want to correct them but want to stay true to the Victorian imagination of them.
“This is what makes our display unique. The dinosaurs are internationally recognised and have even been praised by David Attenborough. To retain that attraction, it is important the designs are still there.”