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1846 Richard Owen And Moa Leg Fossil
Paul D Stewart
Photograph - Photograph
Richard Owen (20, July 1804- 18 December 1892) photo-engraved by Walker and Boutall around 1894 from an 1846 Daguerrotype. Owen was a comparative anatomist and palaeontologist - one of the most famous and politically influential biologists of the Victorian era. His achievements included coining the word Dinosauria (1842), and establishing the new British Museum of Natural History at South Kensington (1881). This photo commemorates his acheivement in theorising the existence of a giant flightless bird in New Zealand (the Moa) on the basis of just one small bone. He was soon proved right as this photo of him with a complete leg shows. Owen's reputation was damaged by his unwillingness to accept criticism, and a tendency to ruthlessly manoeuvre positions to take credit for discoveries. In fact the existence of the Moa had been supposed by others before him, but Owen failed to cite them.
May 12th, 2013
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