Sir Richard Owen

Sir Richard Owen. Born 20 Jul 1804; died 18 Dec 1892.

English anatomist and paleontologist who is remembered for his contributions to the study of fossil animals and for his strong opposition to the views of Charles Darwin. He created the word “Dinosaur” meaning “terrible reptile” (1842). Owen synthesized French anatomical work, especially from Cuvier and Geoffroy, with German transcendental anatomy. He gave us many of the terms still used today in anatomy and evolutionary biology, including “homology”. In 1856, he was appointed Superintendent of the British Museum (Natural History)

(From Today in Science History)

For an overview of this controversial figure see Richard Carter’s article: Sir Richard Owen: the Archetypal Villain

For the Encyclopedia Britannica (1911) entry.

His timeline, from the Natural History Museum.

His review of On the Origin of Species

Brian Switek at Laelaps puts Richard Owen in context in Things Aren’t as Simple as They Seem

A comprehensive obituary from the 1892 British Medical Journal at PubMed Central.


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