Gideon Mantell (1790-1852) was an English physician and geologist best known for pioneering the scientific study of dinosaurs. After an apprenticeship to a local surgeon in Sussex, Mantell became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1811. He developed an interest in fossils, and in 1822 his discovery of fossil teeth which he later identified as belonging to an iguana-like creature he named Iguanadon spurred research into ancient reptiles. These volumes, first published in 1838, contain a series of eight lectures which describe and explain early principles of geology, stratification and fossil plants and animals to a non-scientific audience. These detailed volumes became Mantell's most popular work, and provide a fascinating view of the study of geology and palaeontology during the early nineteenth century.