Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892) coined the term dinosaur and founded London's Natural History Museum

Dinosaur Jungle

Dinosaur Books

Dinosaur Clothing

Dinosaur Crosswords

Dinosaur Facts
   Amazing Dinosaurs
   Family Tree
   Life Span
   Living Dinosaurs?
      Triassic Period
      Jurassic Period
      Cretaceous Period
      African Dinosaurs
      Antarctic Dinosaurs
      Asian Dinosaurs
      Australian Dinosaurs
      European Dinosaurs
      Indian Dinosaurs
      N. American Dinosaurs
      S. American Dinosaurs

Dinosaur Fun

Dinosaur Games

Dinosaur Jokes

Dinosaur Museums
   Australia Dinosaur Museums
   Canada Dinosaur Museums
   UK Dinosaur Museums
   USA Dinosaur Museums

Dinosaur Names

Dinosaur Pictures

Dinosaur Scientists
   Charles Darwin
   Mary Anning
   Sir Richard Owen
   More Dinosaur Scientists

Dinosaur Software

Dinosaur Types
   Tyrannosaurus Rex
   More Dinosaur Types

Dinosaur Toys

Dinosaur Video Games

Dinosaur Videos

Dinosaur Word Search

Other Prehistoric Animals
   Mammal-like Reptiles
   Meganeura Monyi
   Sea Scorpions
   Spiny Sharks
   More Prehistoric Animals

Dinosaur Links
   Before the Dinosaurs
   Dinosaur Hangman
   Dinosaurs News
   Dinosaurs Parks
   Jurassic Dinosaurs
   Triassic Dinosaurs

Education - Math Downloads
   Fun With Figures
   Making Math More Fun
   Math Bingo
   Math Riddle Book
   Download Math eBooks

Education - Reading Downloads
   Child Learning Reading
   Dolch Sight Words
   Phonics Bingo
   Sight Word Bingo

Education - Science Downloads
   24 Hour Science Projects
   Super Science Fair Projects
   Download Science eBooks

Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Scientists   >   Sir Richard Owen

Sir Richard Owen

Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892) was an English paleontologist, biologist, and comparative anatomist
Sir Richard Owen

  • He is perhaps best known for having coined the term "dinosaur" (or actually "dinosauria") in 1842 - it means "terrible reptile".

  • Owen created, in conjunction with Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, the first full-size dinosaur reconstructions. These were originally produced for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and displayed in Crystal Palace, London, with a total of 33 models eventually produced. Perhaps the most famous story about these models, is that Owen hosted a dinner for 21 prominent men of science inside the model of Iguanodon New Year's Eve, 1853. The surviving models are today located in Dinosaur Court in the Crystal Palace area of South London.

  • Owen was perhaps the person most directly responsible for the foundation of the British Museum (Natural History) in South Kensington, London, England, which is today of course known as the "Natural History Museum".

    Natural History Museum in London

Owen was born on July 20th n 1804, in Lancaster, England. He was educated in Lancaster Royal Grammar School, the University of Edinburgh, and in St Bartholomew's Hospital London.

Although Owen considered a career as a surgeon, he was in fact more interest in anatomical research. He eventually accepted a position as assistant to the conservator of the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, and abandoned medical practice.

In 1836, Owen was appointed as a Hunterian professor of the Royal College of Surgeons, in 1849, he became the conservator of the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, and then in 1856, he became superintendent of the natural history department of the British Museum. His work with the British Museum including creating a new Natural History building in South Kensington (today the Natural History Museum), and in 1884 he was knighted. Owen retired, and died in 1892 in Sheen Lodge, Richmond Park, South London.

Sir Richard Owen with the skeleton of an extinct Moa

During his career, Owen wrote numerous scientific papers, including anatomic descriptions of many animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates, and both extant and extinct (fossil) animals. He was even granted right of first refusal of any animal carcasses from London Zoo, and, as result, according to legend, his wife once returned home to find a dead rhinoceros in the hallway of their house.

Although Owen recognized many similarities between different animals, Owen took them as evidence of "archetypes" in god's mind, rather than as evidence of common descent. After Charles Darwin published "On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection", in 1859, Owen, in his position with the British Museum, received many letters (pro-, anti- and inquiries) concerning the book, and initially avoiding expressing a view, but rather argued in favor of a new Natural History Museum.

However, in 1860, an anonymously bylined review of "On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection" written by Richard Owen, appeared in the Edinburgh Review, and Owen gradually became engaged in a fierce and bitter dispute with Darwin's followers, especially T. H. Huxley. Nevertheless, a fossil of one of the transitional animals (Archaeopteryx) predicted by Charles Darwin was bought by Owen for the British Museum in 1863 (although Owen described it as simply a bird, rather than a proto-bird or transitional form).

Aside from the controversies over evolution and Natural Selection, Owen was also involved in a number of other controversies and disputes during his career. Although he began on friendly terms with Owen, Darwin himself wrote "I used to be ashamed of hating him so much, but now I will carefully cherish my hatred and contempt to the last days of my life".

Related Information & Resources

Related Web Sites See Also

Discuss This Page

Please feel free to post your comments:

Linking to This Page

We do hope that you find this site useful. We welcome people linking to this website or citing us.

The URL of this web page, is:

If you want to link to this web page from your own web site, you can use the following HTML code:

You are also very welcome to tell your friends about us on Facebook:


Copyright © 2006-2020, Answers 2000 Limited


In Association With
Answers 2000 Limited is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to
In Association With
Answers 2000 Limited is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to
As an Amazon Associate, our company earns from qualifying purchases. Amazon, the Amazon logo, Endless, and the Endless logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

Disclosure: Our company's websites' content (including this website's content) includes advertisements for our own company's websites, products, and services, and for other organization's websites, products, and services. In the case of links to other organization's websites, our company may receive a payment, (1) if you purchase products or services, or (2) if you sign-up for third party offers, after following links from this website. Unless specifically otherwise stated, information about other organization's products and services, is based on information provided by that organization, the product/service vendor, and/or publicly available information - and should not be taken to mean that we have used the product/service in question. Additionally, our company's websites contain some adverts which we are paid to display, but whose content is not selected by us, such as Google AdSense ads. For more detailed information, please see Advertising/Endorsements Disclosures

Our sites use cookies, some of which may already be set on your computer. Use of our site constitutes consent for this. For details, please see Privacy.

Click privacy for information about our company's privacy, data collection and data retention policies, and your rights.

Contact Us   Privacy   Terms Of Use   Advertising/Endorsements Disclosures