Richard Owen

20 July 1804 - 18 December 1892

Comparative anatomist. Founder of the Natural History Museum in London. Inventor of the term "Dinosaur" (1842). He described many important extinct animals including the New Zealand moas, the giant ground sloth Megatherium, and the dodo. And also strange living animals like the nautilus and platypus. Following the voyage of the Beagle, Owen agreed to work on fossil bones collected in South America. Owen revealed that the extinct giant creatures were rodents and sloths, related to current species in the same locality, rather than being relatives of similarly sized creatures in Africa, as Darwin had originally thought. Owen demonstrated fossil evidence of an evolutionary sequence of horses. To Owen such "homologies" in comparative anatomy showed continuous development of "archetypes". His reputation has been maligned by the followers of Darwin and natural selection about which he remained ambiguous.

Sources and Links

Royal College of Surgeons Works by Owen
Natural History Museum [Statue of Owen in alcove]
Owen and Darwin [Statues at NHM swapped]
Owen's Ichthyosaurus
Taxidermy biography and appreciation
Victorian Web
Natural History Museum biography
Bristol biography and bibliography
Telegraph Greatest scientist you've never heard of.
Friends of Darwin Owen as Villain
Strange Science biography
Brooklyn College portrait with nautillus
Berkeley biography
Wikipedia biography