The Dinosaur Hunters

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sir Richard Owen (1804 - 1892)

Professor Richard Owen was one of the foremost Victorian scientists, of international renown. He was a close friend of Queen Victoria, and the first Superintendent of the Natural HistoryMuseum. His rivals considered him a formidable opponent. He studied many of the remains of these giant reptiles that had been discovered, and recognised that they were not related to any present day creatures.

He concluded that 3 of them, Megalosaurus, Iguanodon and Hylaeosaurus were prehistoric reptiles belonging to a group of their own - he proposed a name for this group - Dinosauria, in 1841. The term 'dinosaur' was thus born.

In 1853 the Crystal Palace dinosaurs were built and exhibited by Owen and the sculptor Waterhouse Hawkins. These were the first ever life-size models built, and can still be seen today.

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