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Professor Arthur Denison was a 19th century biologist that was shipwrecked on the coast of Dinotopia along with his son, Will Denison, in 1862.



Arthur and Will Denison.

Voyage of the Venturer[]

Arthur and his son Will departed Boston on a voyage of discovery aboard the schooner Venturer in late 1860. Arthur also hoped to distract Will from the recent loss of his mother, and to soothe his own grief.[2] At some point during the voyage, the Venturer passed through Hong Kong.[3]


The Venturer had entered uncharted waters when it was struck by a typhoon, which ripped the ship to shreds and lead to the death of all the people on board, save for Arthur and Will. Arthur and his son were carried to the nearby shores by dolphins, arriving in Dinotopia on November 1st 1862.[4]

Life in Dinotopia[]

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Romano's Hatchery, where the Denisons spent their first night in Dinotopia.

The Denisons explored the immediate area, discovering strange tracks in the sand and a freshwater stream from which they could drink.[5] Studying the plantlife, Arthur deduced that the flora resembled ancient plants such as ginkgos, conifers, magnolia and ferns.[6] A strange creature emerged from the forest, making squawking sounds. In fear, Arthur hurled a rock at its leg, which prompted more creatures to emerge. Arthur correctly identified them as living dinosaurs.[7]

A girl emerged from among the dinosaurs, bandaging the wound of the dinosaur struck by Arthur. The girl lead the Denisons to what they assumed was a ranch, and introduced herself as Sylvia with sign-language. At the ranch, which turned out to be a Egg Hatchery, the Denisons met Sylvia’s parents, Giorgio and Maria Romano, and were bathed and fed.[8] They also met Alec Orchardwine, who introduced them to the land of Dinotopia and the origins of its human population.[9] Staying at the hatchery for a few days, Arthur and Will learnt more of the Dinotopian language and culture and that no one has ever left the island. They later departed to register their arrival in Waterfall City.[10]

Journey to Waterfall City[]


Pooktook, the first city the Denisons visited in Dinotopia.

Arthur and Will departed the hatchery aboard a dung wagon and shortly thereafter reached the city of Pooktook, where they met Lee Crabb. Though Arthur was unsure of if Crabb could be trusted, they accompanied him to Volcaneum due to Crabb sharing Arthur's concerns with escaping the island.[11] At Volcaneum, Arthur and Will met Tok Timbu who told them that the reason no one had ever left the island was that no one knew how to and every conceivable escape route seemed impossible.[12] At Volcaneum, they also witnessed their first Skybax Rider, Will immediately declared his determination to become a Skybax rider himself one day.[13] They also met Bix, who accompanied them on their continued journey to Waterfall City.[14]

Waterfall City[]

Arthur, Will and Bix arrived in Waterfall City on August 6th 1863.[15] They were registered, officially becoming "Dinotopians", and after some days of carefree wandering and admiration of the city they began their formal studies, first meeting Malik, the timekeeper.[16] Bix also introduced them to Nallab, assistant of the Chief Librarian Enit, who escorted Arthur around the Waterfall City Library and other parts of the city, introducing its many wonders whilst Bix helped Will to learn the Dinotopian footprint alphabet.[17]

Arthur and Will stayed in Waterfall City for the next year and a half. Arthur tought courses in "Outer World sciences and developments", updating the reports from previously shipwrecked sailors and introducing diagrams of outer world inventions, such as the sewing machine.[18] During their stay, the Denisons lived with a family of Ornithomimus, who they later accompanied on their journey to the Habitat Conference near Treetown.[19]


The badly worn and water-damaged journals of Arthur Denison were later discovered by James Gurney and published as the Dinotopia book series. The first journal, Dinotopia, Being the Account of our Adventures and Discoveries on a Lost Island, was discovered in a university library when Gurney attempted to track down information on the spice trade in China.[20]