Richard Owen (C/N)

Sir Richard Owen (July 20th 1804-December 18th 1892) was an English zoologist, comparative anatomist and paleontolgist. Famous for first coining the word ‘Dinosauria,’ Owen was an instrumental figure during the early days of dinosaur classification and was first credited with describing a new group of animals (based on the finds of the ‘frightfully great lizards’ Megalosaurus, Iguanodon and Hylaeosaurus) at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1841. He is also famous for hosting a dinner party among 21 of the most eminent scientists of the time inside a hollow Iguanodon model. Similar, life-size sculptures were constructed for exhibition in Crystal Palace Park, London, where they can still be viewed today. In addition to his groundbreaking work in the world of dinosaur-related studies, Owen also did extensive work on both prehistoric and contemporary mammals, reptiles, fish, birds and invertebrates. A keen biologist, with a great talent for identifying new species based on even the most fragmented fossil remains, Richard Owen was one of the greatest scientists of the 19th Century.

Owen was acknowledged by Dr. Alan Grant as being among the early paleontolgists who actually advocated the theory that dinosaurs were more active, quick-moving animals that appeared to combine the traits of lizards, crocodiles and birds, as opposed to the view of unintelligent, oversized reptiles that was adopted by scientists for many years until around the 1970’s, when paleontologists like Grant started to return to Owen’s ideology.