Impossible Monsters

Impossible Monsters

Dinosaurs, Darwin and the War Between Science and Religion


Impossible Monsters is the captivating story of the discovery of the dinosaurs and how it upended our understanding of the origins of the world.

‘An astonishing book about an extraordinary subject' PETER FRANKOPAN
'As thrilling as it is sweeping' TOM HOLLAND
‘The most talented young historian around ... A triumph’ SATHNAM SANGHERA

In 1811, a twelve-year-old girl uncovered some strange-looking bones in Britain’s southern shoreline. They belonged to no known creature and were buried beneath a hundred feet of rock. Over the next two decades, as several more of these ‘impossible monsters’ emerged from the soil, the leading scientists of the day were forced to confront a profoundly disturbing possibility: the Bible, as a historical account of the Earth's origins, was wildly wrong.

This is the dramatic story of the crisis that engulfed science and religion when we discovered the dinosaurs. It takes us into the lives and minds of the extraordinary men and women who made these heretical discoveries, those who resisted them, as well as the pioneering thinkers, Darwin most famous among them, who took great risks to construct a new account of the earth’s and mankind’s origins.

Impossible Monsters is the riveting story of a group of people who not only thought impossible things but showed them to be true. In the process they overturned the literal reading of the Bible, liberated science from the authority of religion and ushered in the secular age.

‘Truly marvellous ... an intellectual thriller’ RICHARD HOLMES

‘A stunning work ... of surprises and revelations’ STEVE BRUSATTE


  • Excellent . . . Everything that popular scholarly history should be . . . written with clarity, zest, and wit
    Piers Brendon, LIterary Review

About the author

Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor is the author of The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2021, chosen as a Daily Telegraph Book of the Year and described as 'riveting' (The Times) and 'compulsively readable' (Guardian). He was born in 1988 and graduated with a double first in history from the University of Cambridge, where he earned his PhD. He has since been Lecturer in Modern British History at Balliol College, Oxford, and a Visiting Fellow at the British Library's Eccles Centre for American Studies.
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