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

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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".


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Geology and Inhabitants of the Ancient World: Richard Owen's 1854 Guide to Crystal Palace Dinosaurs. Facsimile (Crystal Palace Guides)
By Dr Richard Owen

Euston Grove Press
Released: June 1st, 2013
Paperback (50 pages)

Geology and Inhabitants of the Ancient World: Richard Owen s 1854 Guide to Crystal Palace Dinosaurs. Facsimile (Crystal Palace Guides)
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Geology and Inhabitants of the Ancient World: Richard Owen's 1854 Guide to Crystal Palace Dinosaurs. Facsimile (Crystal Palace Guides)
  • Manufacturer: Euston Grove Press
  • Brand: Euston Grove Press
  • ISBN: 1906267367
  • EAN: 9781906267360
  • PartNumber: black & white illustrations
Details:
  • Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 50
  • Author: Dr Richard Owen
  • Publication Date: June 1st, 2013
  • Release Date: June 1st, 2013
Physical Description:
  • Size: 8.27 Inches by 5.83 Inches by 0.1 Inches
  • Weight: 0.16093745126 pounds
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Monograph Of The Fossil Mammalia Of The Mesozoic Formations (1871)
By Dr Richard Owen

Kessinger Publishing
Released: October 1st, 2008
Paperback (132 pages)

Monograph Of The Fossil Mammalia Of The Mesozoic Formations (1871)
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Monograph Of The Fossil Mammalia Of The Mesozoic Formations (1871)
  • Manufacturer: Kessinger Publishing
  • Brand: Kessinger Publishing
  • ISBN: 1437048374
  • EAN: 9781437048377
Details:
  • Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 132
  • Author: Dr Richard Owen
  • Publication Date: October 1st, 2008
  • Release Date: October 1st, 2008
Physical Description:
  • Size: 11.0 inches by 8.25 inches by 0.28 inches
  • Weight: 0.69666074792 pounds
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On The Extent And Aims Of A National Museum Of Natural History (1862)
By Dr Richard Owen

Kessinger Publishing
Released: September 10th, 2010
Paperback (132 pages)

On The Extent And Aims Of A National Museum Of Natural History (1862)
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On The Extent And Aims Of A National Museum Of Natural History (1862)
  • Manufacturer: Kessinger Publishing
  • Brand: Kessinger Publishing
  • ISBN: 1164848186
  • EAN: 9781164848189
Details:
  • Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 132
  • Author: Dr Richard Owen
  • Publication Date: September 10th, 2010
  • Release Date: September 10th, 2010
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  • Size: 9.0 inches by 6.0 inches by 0.28 inches
  • Weight: 0.41 pounds
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Owen's Guide to Survival (LEGO Jurassic World)
By Meredith Rusu

Scholastic
Released: April 24th, 2018
Paperback (128 pages)

Owen s Guide to Survival (LEGO Jurassic World)
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Owen's Guide to Survival (LEGO Jurassic World)
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  • Brand: Scholastic
  • ISBN: 1338238027
  • EAN: 9781338238020
  • PartNumber: 27589387
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  • Paperback
  • Edition: Media tie-in
  • Number of Pages: 128
  • Author: Meredith Rusu
  • Publication Date: April 24th, 2018
  • Release Date: April 24th, 2018
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  • Size: 8.25 inches by 5.5 inches by 0.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.5 pounds
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Richard Owen and Kin and in particular: George Owen of Haywood County NC
By N. Coleman Owen

Independently published
Released: May 31st, 2023
Paperback (336 pages)

Richard Owen and Kin and in particular: George Owen of Haywood County NC
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Richard Owen and Kin and in particular: George Owen of Haywood County NC
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  • EAN: 9798394291388
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  • Number of Pages: 336
  • Author: N. Coleman Owen
  • Publication Date: May 31st, 2023
  • Release Date: May 31st, 2023
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  • Size: 11.0 inches by 8.5 inches by 0.79 inches
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Owen to the Rescue (LEGO Jurassic World: Reader with Stickers)
By Meredith Rusu

Scholastic
Released: September 3rd, 2019
Paperback (32 pages)

Owen to the Rescue (LEGO Jurassic World: Reader with Stickers)
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  • Manufacturer: Scholastic Inc.
  • Brand: Scholastic
  • ISBN: 1338539205
  • EAN: 9781338539202
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  • Format: Sticker Book
  • Number of Pages: 32
  • Author: Meredith Rusu
  • Publication Date: September 3rd, 2019
  • Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
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  • Size: 0.08661417314 inches by 10.24015746987 inches by 5.90944881287 inches
  • Weight: 0.1543235834 Pounds
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Fossil Mammalia - Part I - The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S Beagle: Under the Command of Captain Fitzroy - During the Years 1832 to 1836
By Richard Owen

White Press
Released: May 3rd, 2019
Paperback (206 pages)

Fossil Mammalia - Part I - The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S Beagle: Under the Command of Captain Fitzroy - During the Years 1832 to 1836
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Fossil Mammalia - Part I - The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S Beagle: Under the Command of Captain Fitzroy - During the Years 1832 to 1836
  • Manufacturer: White Press
  • Brand: White Press
  • ISBN: 1528712080
  • EAN: 9781528712088
Details:
  • Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 206
  • Author: Richard Owen
  • Publication Date: May 3rd, 2019
  • Release Date: May 3rd, 2019
Physical Description:
  • Size: 8.5 inches by 5.5 inches by 0.52 inches
  • Weight: 0.598 pounds
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Dinosaur Dan
By Richard Scrivener

Austin Macauley
Released: September 30th, 2021
Hardcover (70 pages)

Dinosaur Dan
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  • Manufacturer: Austin Macauley
  • ISBN: 1398411396
  • EAN: 9781398411395
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  • Hardcover
  • Number of Pages: 70
  • Author: Richard Scrivener
  • Publication Date: September 30th, 2021
  • Release Date: September 30th, 2021
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  • Size: 9.21 inches by 6.14 inches by 0.31 inches
  • Weight: 0.69 pounds
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Art and Science of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
By Mark Witton

The Crowood Press
Released: May 19th, 2022
Hardcover (192 pages)

Art and Science of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
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Art and Science of the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
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  • ISBN: 071984049X
  • EAN: 9780719840494
  • PartNumber: 9780719840494
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  • Hardcover
  • Number of Pages: 192
  • Authors: Mark Witton, Ellinor Michel
  • Publication Date: May 19th, 2022
  • Release Date: May 19th, 2022
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  • Size: 11.03 inches by 9.02 inches by 0.58 inches
  • Weight: 2.12084696044 Pounds
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The Life of Richard Owen
By Richard Owen

Legare Street Press
Released: July 18th, 2023
Paperback (444 pages)

The Life of Richard Owen
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  • Manufacturer: Legare Street Press
  • ISBN: 1021462217
  • EAN: 9781021462213
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  • Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 444
  • Author: Richard Owen
  • Publication Date: July 18th, 2023
  • Release Date: July 18th, 2023
Physical Description:
  • Size: 9.21 inches by 6.14 inches by 0.9 Inches
  • Weight: 1.36025215654 pounds
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