Richard Owen (1804-1892)

One of the most important figures in 19th century science. A staunch anti-evolutionist before publication of the Origin, synthesizing Geoffroy's "unity of plan" argument and Cuvier's four distinct "embranchements" into a new defense of creationism. He eventually admitted evolution but not Darwin's theory. Instigated the construction of the British Museum's South Kensington natural history complex. Inspired by MacLeay, Owen coined term "homology" and clarified homology/analogy distinction. Coined the term "dinosaur" and was the first to describe dinosaurs as a distinct group. Conducted key early studies of monotremes, Mesozoic mammals, Archaeopteryx, Permian mammals.

Owen as a young man. From Desmond 1989, p. 243.


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