Richard Owen

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Richard Owen (1856)

Sir Richard Owen (* 20th July 1804 in Lancaster , † 18th December 1892 in Richmond Park of London ) was a British physician , zoologist , comparative anatomist , physiologist and paleontologist . He is considered the second most important naturalist of the Victorian Age after Charles Darwin .

From 1827 to 1856, Owen cataloged the extensive scientific estate of John Hunter , first as an assistant and later as curator of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England . He wrote significant papers on the comparative osteology and odontology of vertebrates . During his research on reptile fossils found in Great Britain, he coined the term " Dinosauria " in 1841 . The following year he revised Georges Cuvier groups of ruminants (ruminant) and elephants (Pachydermata) and replaced it with the usual today subgroups of cloven-hoofed animals (Artiodactyla) and odd-toed ungulates (Perissodactyla). In 1843, Owen introduced the concept of homology and separated it from the similar concept of analogy . Using his principle of homology, Owen constructed an abstract "archetype" on the basis of which he explained the development of vertebrates teleologically .

During his work as superintendent of the natural history collection of the British Museum , he campaigned for the establishment of an independent natural history museum , today's Natural History Museum , of which he was the first director until 1883.

Live and act

Origin and education

Owen's birthplace on Thurnham Street and Brock Street in Lancaster

Richard Owen was the sixth and youngest child and the second son of Richard Owen (1754-1809) and Catherine Longworth (nee Parrin, † 1838). His father was a merchant in the West India trade, his mother came from French Huguenots who immigrated to England . When his father died, the family moved to the Castle Hill area, where his mother started a girls boarding school. From 1810 he attended the Lancaster Royal Grammar School , where he stayed until he was 16. In 1820 he was apprenticed to three different surgeons and pharmacists in Lancaster for four years, including dissecting corpses from the local prison. During this time he discovered his fondness for anatomy . In October 1824, Owen enrolled at Edinburgh University . In addition to the courses he needed for formal approval as a medical doctor, he attended the lectures of John Barclay (1758–1826) on comparative anatomy . From Barclay, Owen received a recommendation to John Abernethy , Professor at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London and President of the Royal College of Surgeons . After only half a year in Edinburgh he received the post of prosector for his surgical lectures from Abernethy . A year later, at 22, he had reached the minimum age for admission to the Royal College of Surgeons. He passed the entrance examination and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons on August 11, 1826. To make a living, Owen opened a doctor's office in Took's Court near Lincoln's Inn Fields .

Cataloging the Hunter Collection

The young Richard Owen (around 1835)
The interior of the Hunterian Museum 1844. Drawn by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd , engraved by Edward Radclyffe (1810–1863)

In 1800 the British government had acquired the collection of surgeon John Hunter and given it to the Royal College of Surgeons to catalog them. As the curator of the Hunterian Museum, William Clift (1775-1849), the last student and assistant Hunter was employed, but did not do this job. The Royal College of Surgeons was heavily criticized for this, including by Thomas Wakley in The Lancet magazine . The board of directors of the museum therefore decided to end its support for Clift. Owen was hired on the recommendation of the President of the Royal College of Surgeons Abernethy. On March 7, 1827, Owen began working at the Hunterian Museum with William Clift.

Owen got on well with Clift and his son, who was almost the same age, William Home Clift (1803-1832), who was to be Clift's successor at the museum. In September 1827 Owen also met Clift's two-year-old daughter, Caroline Amelia Clift (1801–1873), and got engaged to her over Christmas that same year.

Owen was enthusiastic about the scientific work at the museum, as it offered him completely different opportunities than his medical practice. From 1828 he gave additional lectures on comparative anatomy at St Bartholomew's Hospital. A year later, Owen was permanently employed at the museum. However, his income was still insufficient to marry Clift's daughter. Owen therefore continued his medical studies and passed the exams of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries in early 1830 . He briefly toyed with the idea of ​​taking a position as a doctor in Birmingham , but eventually stayed in London and moved to the Clift family.

While Owen was working on the first parts of the Hunter collection catalog, the museum received a visit from Georges Cuvier , whom Owen was allowed to show through the museum because of his knowledge of French. Cuvier invited Owen to visit him in Paris.

On November 9, 1830, the first of the fortnightly two-year meetings of the Committee of Science and Correspondence of the Zoological Society of London took place on Bruton Street. The committee was set up to promote questions and experiments on animal physiology. Owen at that time held a lecture on the anatomy of a recently at London Zoo died orangutans , in the Proceedings was published the Committee and was his first scientific publication. Through his membership in the society he was able to examine the carcasses of the animals in the London Zoo. In the short time the Proceedings were in existence , Owen was the most prolific contributor with 28 articles on the anatomy of various mammals .

In the spring of 1831, the first six sections of the Hunter collection were cataloged. The museum's board of directors was pleased with Owen's work and asked him to next look at the Physiological Series of Hunter's collection, which the board took three years to process. In the summer, Owen Cuvier's invitation to Paris followed and spent a month there. At the Jardin des Plantes he met Cuvier's patron Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire . His Parisian hosts recommended Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck 's Philosophy Zoologique , which Owen studied with great interest.

Owen's scientific reputation grew. George Bennett sent a previously very rare specimen of the genus Nautilus to London. Owen was entrusted with the analysis of this specimen. After five months of dissecting , he had gathered enough material to write his first book of his own. In 1832 Memoir on the Pearly Nautilus appeared with numerous, detailed drawings that he had made himself. His 1832 conducted anatomical studies of the "strange" platypus Ornithorhynchus paradoxus proved that it was a mammal.

On September 11, 1832, Clift's son had a serious accident in a cab and died six days later of the consequences of his injuries. Owen thus became the designated successor to Clift as curator of the museum. In 1833 the first volume of the "Physiological Series" appeared, which kept him busy until the spring of 1841. When the museum was rebuilt and expanded from 1834 to 1835, Owen directed the necessary measures. He became assistant curator. His income was now sufficient to marry Clift's daughter Caroline Amelia on July 20, 1835 at St. Pancras Church, London.

In 1839 the museum's “Board of Curators” was converted into the “Museum Committee” and newly appointed. By about 1840 the committee grew increasingly dissatisfied with the way Owen was spending his time. For example, without having obtained permission from the committee, Owen studied the fossils brought back by Charles Darwin . On January 25, 1842, there was a meeting with the museum committee. It asked Owen not to publish anything in the future without his consent and in return offered him the position of curator. Owen agreed on the condition that he didn't have to show visitors around the museum. Clift, who was appointed senior conservator, took on this task. Owen held the position of curator of the Hunterian Museum for fourteen years (until 1856). He was succeeded by John Thomas Quekett , who had been Owen's assistant since 1843. With his appointment as curator, Owen was able to fully devote himself to scientific work.

Recognition as a scientist

On December 18, 1834, Owen was accepted into the Royal Society . In the same year he published the formal description of the roundworm Trichinella spiralis discovered by James Paget and was appointed to the chair of comparative anatomy at St Bartholomew's Hospital. In 1836 Owen succeeded Charles Bell as "Hunterian Professor" for comparative anatomy and physiology at the Royal College of Surgeons. In April of the same year, the directorate of the Hunter Museum gave him the new position of Hunter Professor of Comparative Anatomy and Physiology. He held both chairs until 1855. From 1837 onwards, Owen held 24 so-called “Hunter lectures” a year.

The Geological Society honored Owen with the Wollaston Medal in 1838 for his work on the Beagle fossils . He supported the establishment of the Microscopical Society of London and served as its first president from 1840. For his comparative anatomical study of teeth , the first volume of which appeared under the title Odontography , Owen had also used a microscope. After his monograph on the genus Nautilus , Owen became a recognized expert on cephalopods ( Cephalopoda ). He was particularly interested at that time and the bag mammals ( marsupials ) and monotremes ( monotremes ), which he for Robert Todd's Cyclopedia of Anatomy and Physiology wrote the corresponding article (1841). By 1840, Owen had published 157 scientific articles, most of which he presented to the Zoological Society, the Royal Society, the Geological Society, the Linnean Society, and the British Association for the Advancement of Science .

Owen's membership in the renowned Athenaeum Club (1840) and in the literary club The Club (May 20, 1845) cemented his reputation in London society. In 1847 he was made an honorary member of the Medical and Surgical Society of London . The Royal Society awarded him the Royal Medal in 1846 for his scientific work and the Copley Medal in 1851 for his complete works . For his services, Queen Victoria granted him lifelong residence in the Sheen Lodge house in Richmond Park in 1852 . During these years the focus of Owen's interests shifted more and more from comparative anatomy to the field of paleontology .

"Old Bones" and the dinosaurs

"Old Bones" - caricature by Carlo Pellegrini in Vanity Fair magazine , March 1, 1873
Richard Owen next to the skeleton of the moas Dinornis novaezealandiae . In his right hand he is holding one of the bones originally brought to London by John Rule (1878)
The New Year's Dinner of 1854. Illustration in The Illustrated London News of January 7, 1854.
Caricature by Frederick Waddy showing Richard Owen riding a skeleton of the giant sloth Megatherium (1873)

Called "English Cuvier" by his admirers and derided by Vanity Fair magazine in 1873 as "Old Bones", Owen first came into closer contact with "old bones" when he accompanied William Clift to Oxford in the summer of 1832 . On the evening of June 23, William Buckland spoke about the fossil remains of the Megatherium as part of the first meeting of the newly founded British Association for the Advancement of Science .

On October 29, 1836, Owen and Charles Darwin met at Charles Lyell 's. Darwin had returned earlier this month from his nearly five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle , during which he had also found numerous fossils in South America. Darwin persuaded Owen to look at the finds. The first fossil examined by Owen was a skull that Darwin discovered 120 miles northwest of Montevideo . It belonged to a hippopotamus-like creature that Owen later named Toxodon platensis . Owen finally took over the processing of the "Fossil Mammals" for the work published by Darwin The Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle , the parts of which appeared from February 1838 to April 1840 in four deliveries.

In 1837 the British Association for the Advancement of Science requested a systematic study of reptile fossils found in Great Britain. The company's three-person advisory board, which included Owen's father-in-law, gave a generous financial contribution of £ 200 and commissioned Owen to conduct the necessary research. At the Society's meeting in Birmingham in August 1839 , Owen presented the first part of the Report on British Fossil Reptiles , which dealt exclusively with marine British reptile fossils (Enaliosauria). He described 16 species of the Plesiosaurus genus and 10 species of the Ichthyosaurus genus , but withheld many of Gideon Mantell's findings . Two years later, on August 2, 1841 in Plymouth, his report was continued, in which the word " Dinosauria " was coined. Owen classified the fossil reptiles under the orders Crocodilia , Dinosauria, Lacertilia , Pterosauria , Chelonia , Ophidia and Batrachia . Out of eleven dinosaur genera known at the time, he included only three in his order Dinosauria, classified six incorrectly and completely overlooked the two genera Macrodontophion (now regarded as the noun dubium ) and Plateosaurus . Nevertheless, his work was seen as an advance over that of Georges Cuvier and Hermann von Meyer .

Mantell and Owen had been involved in bitter rivalries since the 1840s, initially over the classification of various fossils such as pterosaurs and moas. Both tried to prevent the other from receiving the Royal Medal, and Mantell was bitter about the appropriation of the dinosaurs, the area where Mantell became famous, by naming Owens.

As early as 1839, Owen had examined three bone fragments from New Zealand and concluded from them that they were possibly extinct ostrich-like birds: “... I am willing to risk the reputation for it on the statement that there has existed, if there does not now exist, in New Zealand, a Struthious bird, nearly, if not quite, equal in size to the Ostrich. ”His assumption was confirmed when, in 1843, Buckland gave him two boxes of bones from New Zealand. In the course of his life, Owen would write over 30 articles on the moas .

In 1842 he wrote an extensive monograph on the first almost completely preserved skeleton of Glossotherium , which was found near Buenos Aires in 1841 . Investigations on fossil remains of two species of the genus Hyopotamus led Owen to revise Cuvier's systematics of ungulates in 1848 . He replaced Cuvier's groups of ruminants (Ruminantia) and pachyderms (Pachydermata) by the subgroups of the ungulates (Artiodactyla) and odd ungulates (Perissodactyla).

After the end of the First World Exhibition in October 1851, the British Parliament decided to rebuild the Crystal Palace on a larger site and to expand the exhibition. Part of the outdoor area should be life-size, concrete- made sculptures of dinosaurs, which were commissioned by the sculptor Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins . After Mantell had declined to advise on the project, Owen was asked in 1853 to take over the advice on the anatomical reconstruction. However, Hawkins did not adhere to Owen's guidelines on many details. For example, the two Iguanodon models wear a horn on their head. All dinosaurs were depicted as four-legged friends. Only later discoveries by Joseph Leidy in 1866 refuted this generalization. On the New Year of 1854, the Crystal Palace Company held a dinner party for 22 guests in honor of Owen inside an Iguanodon mold. The exhibition, which opened on June 10, 1854, made the dinosaurs known to a wider public. In 1855, Owen was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . In 1857 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina and in 1865 of the National Academy of Sciences .

With the first description of the extinct genus Thylacoleo in 1857 began a long-term study of the fossil mammals of Australia, which he summarized in a two-volume work in 1877. In 1862, in his capacity as head of the natural history collection of the British Museum, he campaigned for the purchase of the Archeopteryx discovered the previous year near Solnhofen . In his 1863 monograph on the specimen, however, he did not recognize that the fossil was a transitional form between reptiles and birds.

Contributions to the establishment of the Natural History Museum

In 1856 Owen resigned from his position as curator of the Hunter Museum due to ongoing disagreements with its council. He became the first superintendent of the natural history collection of the British Museum and in the same year Fuller Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at the Royal Institution of Great Britain . From 1857 to 1861 he lectured on paleontology at the Royal School of Mines , known as Palaeontology. Or: A Systematic Summary of Extinct Animals and Their Geological Relations . In 1858, Owen became president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and in September 1858 he first publicly advocated the relocation of the British Museum's natural history collection to an independent museum. In February 1859 he presented the first detailed plan for it. Thomas Henry Huxley in particular opposed these plans in November . From 1860 to 1863 there was an ongoing parliamentary debate on this subject. In 1861 Owen gave the lecture On a New Natural History Museum at the Royal Institution and published three articles in the Athenaeum magazine . The trustees of the British Museum finally spoke out in favor of a split. In the period from 1856 to 1863 alone, Owen published over a hundred publications. In 1872 parliament finally approved the funds necessary for the new building. When the newly built Natural History Museum opened in April 1881, Owen was its first director.

Owen and the theory of evolution

Owen himself initially believed in the immutability of species and followed Georges Cuvier in it, but revised this in particular on the basis of his own studies in comparative anatomy, which led to the development of his concept of the archetype, a divinely determined original plan from which the blueprints of all animals are derived . According to Owen, deviations were caused by a number of secondary influences that were not precisely specified by himself and that can be understood as laws of divinely directed evolution. In his theory of the archetype he was influenced by German natural philosophy, in particular by Lorenz Oken , whom he admired.

Later, Owen was widely seen as an opponent of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution . Owen himself did not completely reject the concept of changing species through evolution, but rejected Darwin's theory of natural selection as a driving force, but rather saw the reign of a Creator. In publications he was reluctant in this regard, he attacked Darwin's Origin of species even anonymously in a review in the Edinburgh Review in April 1860, but his authorship was clear to Darwin and his circle from the beginning.

The controversy between Owen and Darwin's partisan Thomas Henry Huxley , with whom he had been in rivalry for a long time, became known. The controversy was one of the most intense and startling among scientists in the 19th century and concerned the attitude of the great apes to humans. The controversy took place in the years following the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species and culminated at the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Cambridge in 1862. Owen saw a crucial difference between great apes (such as gorillas) and great anatomical similarities People in the brain. Owen claimed that certain parts of the brain such as the minor hippocampus (and two others) were unique to the human brain, but Huxley (assisted by anatomist William Henry Flower ) refuted it. The debate received a lot of media coverage and it was widely believed that Huxley emerged victorious.

Last years and honors

Richard Owen on a Woodbury typie by Herbert Rose Barraud (1845-1896), which was recorded during the last years of his life

After his retirement in 1883, Owen was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) on January 5, 1884 and thus "Sir". In 1873 he had already been awarded the Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB). 1888 Owen was together with Joseph Dalton Hooker to the Linnean Medal of the Linnean Society of London awarded. In Germany he was honored in 1852 at the suggestion of Alexander von Humboldt with the Pour le mérite for sciences and arts . The Australian Royal Society of New South Wales honored him in 1878 with the first award of the Clarke Medal .

He was embittered by the suicide of his only son in 1886. Deaf and suffering from stomatitis, Owen died on December 18, 1892 and was buried next to his wife on December 23 at Ham Churchyard near Richmond , Surrey (now part of Greater London ).

In his honor is the plant genus Owenia F. Muell. from the mahogany family (Meliaceae).

Fonts (selection)

For a complete bibliography, see The Life of Richard Owen by His Grandson the Rev. Richard Owen, MA With the Scientific Portions Revised by C. Davies Sherborn. Also an Essay on Owen's Position in Anatomical Science by the Right Hon. TH Huxley, FRS D. Appleton, New York 1894.


  • Memoir on the Pearly Nautilus (Nautilus Pompilius, Linn): With Illustrations of Its External Form and Internal Structure . R. Taylor, London 1832; on-line
  • In: John Ross : Appendix to the Narrative of a Second Voyage in Search of a North West Passage 1829-1833. Natural history . Volume 2, pp. I-C, London 1834
  • The Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle . Fossil Mammalia . London 1838-1840
  • Odontography, or a Treatise on the Comparative Anatomy of the Teeth . 2 volumes, H. Bailliere, London 1840–1845, online .
  • Description of the Skeleton of an Extinct Gigantic Sloth, Mylodon Robustus, Owen, with Observations on the Osteology, Natural Affinities, and Probable Habits of the Megatherioid Quadrupeds in General . John Van Voorst, London 1842
  • Lectures on the Comparative Anatomy and Physiology of the Invertebrate Animals: Delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons, in 1843 . London 1843; on-line
  • Lectures on the Comparative Anatomy and Physiology of the Vertebrate Animals: Delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, in 1844 and 1846, Part I. Fishes . London 1846–81 woodcuts; on-line
  • A History of British Fossil Mammals and Birds . London 1846 - with 273 woodcuts; on-line
  • On the Archetype and Homologies of the Vertebrate Skeleton . R. and JE Taylor, London 1848; on-line
  • On the Nature of Limbs . London 1849
  • On Parthenogenesis, Or the Successive Production of Procreating Individuals from a Single Ovum. A Discourse Introductory to the Hunterian Lectures on Generation and Development, for the Year 1849, Delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons of England . London 1849; on-line
  • A History of British Fossil Reptiles . London 1849-1884
    • Volume 1: 1849 online
    • Volume 2:
    • Volume 3: online
    • Volume 4:
  • Monograph on the Fossil Reptilia of the Wealden and Purbeck Formations . London 1853; on-line
  • The Principal Forms of the Skeleton and the Teeth as the Basis for a System of Natural History and Comparative Anatomy . Philadelphia 1854–76 woodcuts; on-line
  • Geology and Inhabitants of the Ancient World . London 1854 - Description of the exhibition at Crystal Palace
  • Key to the Geology of the Globe: An Essay Designed to Show that the Present Geographical, Hydrographical, and Geological Structures, Observed on the Earth's Crust, Were the Result of Forces Acting According to Fixed, Demonstrable Laws, Analogous to Those Governing the Development of Organic bodies . London 1857; on-line
  • On the Classification and Geographical Distribution of the Mammalia: Being the Lecture on Sir Robert Reade's Foundation, Delivered Before the University of Cambridge, in the Senate-House, May 10, 1859: to which is added an Appendix, “On the Gorilla” and "On the Extinction and Transmutation of Species" . JW Parker, London 1859; on-line
  • Paleontology. Or: A Systematic Summary of Extinct Animals and Their Geological Relations . Edinburgh 1860; online (2nd edition 1861)
  • Memoir on the Megatherium, or Giant Ground-Sloth of America . London 1861; on-line
  • On the Extent and Aims of a National Museum of Natural History: Including the Substances of a Discourse on that Subject, Delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, on the Evening of Friday, April 26, 1861 . 1862; on-line
  • Monograph on the Aye-aye . London 1863
  • Anatomy of Vertebrates . Longmans, Green and Co., London 1866–1868, 3 volumes
  • Descriptive and Illustrated Catalog of the Fossil Reptilia of South Africa in the Collection of the British Museum . London 1876; on-line
  • Researches on the Fossil Remains of the Extinct Mammals of Australia, with a Notice of the Extinct Marsupials of England . J. Erxleben, London 1877, 2 volumes
  • Memoirs on the Extinct Wingless Birds of New Zealand, with an Appendix on those of England, Australia, Newfoundland, Mauritius, and Rodriguez . 1879; on-line
  • Antiquity of Man as Deduced from the Discovery of a Human Skeleton During the Excavations of the East and West India Dock-Extensions at Tilbury, North Bank of the Thames . John Van Voorst, London 1884

Catalogs on the Hunter Collection

  • Catalog of the Hunterian Collection in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons in London . R. Taylor, London 1830-1831, 6 parts
    • Part I: Comprehending the Pathological Preparations in Spirit . R. Taylor, London 1830; on-line
    • Part II: Comprehending the Pathological Preparations in a Dried State . R. Taylor, London 1830; on-line
    • Part III: Comprehending the Human and Comparative Osteology . R. Taylor, London 1831; on-line
    • Part IV. Fasciculus I. Comprehending the First Division of the Preparations of Natural History in Spirit . R. Taylor, London 1830
    • Part V: Comprehending the Preparations of Monsters and Malformed Parts in Spirit, and in a Dried State . R. Taylor, London 1831; on-line
    • Part VI: Comprehending the Vascular and Miscellaneous Preparations in a Dried State . R. Taylor, London 1831; on-line
  • Descriptive and Illustrated Catalog of the Physiological Series of Comparative Anatomy Contained in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons in London . R. Taylor, London 1833–1841, 5 volumes
    • Volume I: Including the Organs of Motion and Digestion . R. Taylor, London 1833; on-line
    • Volume II: Including the Absorbent, Circulating, Respiratory, and Urinary Systems . R. Taylor, London 1834; on-line
    • Volume III, Part I: Nervous System And Organs of Sense . R. Taylor, London 1836
    • Volume III, Part II: Connective and Tegumentary Systems and Peculiarities . R. Taylor, London 1836; on-line
    • Volume IV: Organs of Generation . R. Taylor, London 1838; on-line
    • Volume V: Products of Generation . R. Taylor, London 1841; on-line
  • Descriptive Catalog of the Fossil Organic Remains of Reptilia and Pisces Contained in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England . London 1854; on-line

Magazine articles

  • On the Anatomy of the Orangutan (Simia satyrus, L.) . In: Proceedings of the Committee of Science and Correspondence of the Zoological Society of London . Volume 1, 1830, pp. 4-5, 8-10, 28-29, 67-72; on-line
  • On the Mammary Glands of the Ornithorhynchus paradoxus . In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London . Pp. 516-538, London 1832
  • On the Generation of the Marsupial Animals; with a description of the Impregnated Uterus of the Kangaroo . In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London . Pp. 333-364, London 1834
  • On the Ova of the Ornithorhynchus paradoxus . In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London . Pp. 555-564, London 1834
  • On the Osteology of the Chimpanzee and Orang Utan . In: Transactions of the Zoological Society of London . Volume 1, pp. 343-379. London 1835
  • On the Anthropoid Apes . In: Report of the Twenty-Fourth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science; Held at Liverpool in September 1854 . London 1855, pp. 111-113; on-line
  • On the Characters, Principles of Division, and Primary Groups of the Class Mammalia . In: Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London. Zoology . Volume 2, No. 5, London 1858, pp. 1-37; on-line
  • Description of a Microscopic Entozoon (Trichina spiralis) Infesting the Muscles of the Human Body . In: London Medical Gazette . Volume 16, 1834-35, pp. 125-127
  • Descriptions of Some New or Rare Cephalopoda, Collected by Mr. George Bennett, Corr. Memb. ZS In: Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London . Volume 37, pp. 19-23, London 1835
  • On a new genus and species of sponge (Euplectella aspergillum) . In: Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London . Volume 9, pp. 3-5, London 1841
  • On a new genus and species of Euplectella (Euplectella cucumer O.) . In: Transactions of the Linnean Society of London . Volume 22, No. 2, pp. 117-123, London 1857
  • On the anatomy of the American king-crab (Limulus. Polyphemus Latr.) . In: Transactions of the Linnean Society of London . Volume 28, pp. 459-506, London 1873
  • On the Bone of an Unknown Struthious Bird of Large Size from New Zealand . In: Annals and Magazine of Natural History Volume 5, 1840, pp. 166-168; on-line
  • Report on British Fossil Reptiles . In: Report of the Ninth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Held at Birmingham, August 1839 . London 1839, pp. 43-126; on-line
  • Report on British Fossil Reptiles. Part II . In: Report of the Eleventh Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Held at Plymouth, July 1841 . London 1842, pp. 60-204; online - coinage of the word dinosaur on p. 103
  • On the Remains of Dinornis, an Extinct Gigantic Struthious Bird . In: Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London . London 1843, pp. 8-10, 144-146
  • Description of Teeth and Portions of Jaws of two Extinct Anthracotheroid Quadrupeds (Hyopotamus vectianus and Hyop. Bovinus) Discovered by the Marchioness of Hastings in the Eocene Deposits on the NW Coast of the Isle of Wight: With an Attempt to Develope Cuvier's idea of ​​the Classification of Pachyderms by the Number of their Toes. In: Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society Volume 4, No. 1–2, 1848, pp. 103–141, coined the terms even-toed ungulate and unpaar-toed ungulate
  • On the Fossil Mammals of Australia. Part I. Description of a Mutilated Skull of a Large Marsupial Carnivore (Thylacoleo carnifex, Owen), from a Calcareous Conglomerate Stratum, Eighty Miles SW of Melbourne, Victoria . In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London . Volume 149, London 1859, pp. 309-322
  • On the Archeopteryx of Von Meyer, with a Description of the Fossil Remains of a Long-tailed Species from the Lithographic Stone of Solnhofen . In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London . Volume 153, pp. 33-47. London 1863
  • An Account of the Dissection of the Parts Concerned in the Aneurism for the Cure of which Dr. Stevens Tied the Internal Iliac Artery, at Santa Cruz, in the Year 1812 . In: Medico-Chirurgical Transactions . Volume 16, Part 1, 1831, pp. 219-235. PMC 2116637 (free full text)
  • Lyell - On Life and Successive Development . In: Quarterly Review . No. 89, September 1851, pp. 412-451, published anonymously
  • Darwin on the Origin of Species . In: Edinburgh Review . Volume 3, 1860, pp. 487-532, published anonymously.



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  • Adrian Desmond: The Politics of Evolution: Morphology, Medicine, and Reform in Radical London . University of Chicago Press, 1992, ISBN 0-226-14374-0 .
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  • Charles Knight: The English Cyclopaedia . Bradbury, Agnew & Co, London 1856–1872, 7 volumes.
  • Lovell Reeve (Ed.): Portraits of Men of Eminence, with Biographical Memoirs . Volume 1, pp. 41-65, London 1863; online .
  • Nicolaas Rupke : Richard Owen (1804-1892) . In: Ilse Jahn , Michael Schmitt: Darwin & Co. A history of biology in portraits . Volume 1, Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-44638-8 , pp. 245-259.
  • John M. Ulrich: Thomas Carlyle, Richard Owen, and the Paleontological Articulation of the Past . In: Journal of Victorian Culture . Volume 11, No. 1, 2006, pp. 30-58; online .
  • Henry Jones Thaddeus: Recollections of a Court Painter. With seventeen illustrations . John Lane, London 1912, pp. 182-187.
  • Obituary: Sir Richard Owen, KCB, DCL, LL.D., FRCS, FRS In: British Medical Journal . Volume 2, December 1892, pp. 1411-1415 doi: 10.1136 / bmj.2.1669.1411 .
  • Wesley C. Williams: Owen, Richard . In: Charles Coulston Gillispie (Ed.): Dictionary of Scientific Biography . tape 10 : SG Navashin - W. Piso . Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1974, p. 260-263 .

Individual evidence

  1. Rupke p. 245.
  2. cf. The Discovery of Trichina Spiralis . In: American Journal of Public Health . Volume 21, 1931, p. 181; Online PDF .
  3. ^ Reinhard Hildebrand: Rudolf Albert Koelliker and his scientific contacts abroad. In: Würzburger medical historical reports 2, 1984, pp. 101–115; here: p. 105 f.
  4. James Johnson, Henry James Johnson (Eds.): The Medico-Chirurgical Review and Journal of Practical Medicine . Volume 36, London, New York 1842, pp. 140 ff .; online .
  5. Keith p. 893.
  6. ^ Medico-surgical Transactions . Volume 40, London 1857, p. XLIX; online .
  7. ^ Dinner in the Iguanodon Model, at The Crystal Palace, Sydenham and Skeleton of the Dinornis in the Museum in the Royal College of Surgeons . In: The Illustrated London News . January 7, 1854, p. 22.
  8. ^ William Buckland: On the Fossil Remains of the Megatherium, Recently Imported into England from South America . In: Report of First and Second Meetings of the British Association for the Advancement of Science . J. Murray, London 1833, pp. 104-110; online .
  9. Charles Darwin to John Stevens Henslow, September 30–1. October 1836, letter 354 ( Memento of the original of July 14, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. in The Darwin Correspondence Project, (accessed September 12, 2008). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Richard Owen: A description of the Cranium of the Toxodon Platensis, a gigantic extinct mammiferous species, referrible by its dentition to the Rodentia, but with affinities to the Pachydermata and the Herbivorous Cetacea . In: Proceedings of the Geological Society of London . Volume 2, pp. 541-542, London 1837 (read April 19, 1837); online .
  11. James O. Farlow, MK Brett-Surman, Robert F. Walters: The Complete Dinosaur . Indiana University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-253-21313-4 , pp. 178 f.
  12. ^ Dennis R. Dean: Gideon Mantell and the Discovery of Dinosaurs . Cambridge University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-521-42048-2 , p. 183.
  13. ^ Dennis R. Dean: Gideon Mantell and the Discovery of Dinosaurs . Cambridge University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-521-42048-2 , p. 190.
  14. ^ Nicolaas Rupke: Richard Owen: Biology without Darwin. Chicago University Press 2009, p. 6.
  15. ^ On the Bone of an Unknown Struthious Bird of Large Size from New Zealand . In: Annals and Magazine of Natural History. Volume 5, 1840, p. 168.
  16. ^ TH Worthy, Richard N. Holdaway, Rod Morris: The Lost World of the Moa: Prehistoric Life of New Zealand . Indiana University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-253-34034-9 , p. 48.
  17. ^ Edwin Harris Colbert: The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs . In: The Great Dinosaur Hunters and Their Discoveries . Courier Dover Publications, 1984, ISBN 0-486-24701-5 , pp. 34-37.
  18. James A. Secord: Monsters at the Crystal Palace . In: Soraya de Chadarevian, Nick Hopwood: Models: The Third Dimension of Science . Stanford University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-8047-3972-2 , pp. 138-159.
  19. Kenneth Carpenter: The Armored Dinosaurs . P. 18 ff.
  20. ^ Wesley Williams, Article Owen in Dictionary of Scientific Biography.
  21. ^ Nicolaas Rupke, Richard Owen, p. 192.
  22. Rupke p. 246.
  23. Lotte Burkhardt: Directory of eponymous plant names - Extended Edition. Part I and II. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin , Freie Universität Berlin , Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-946292-26-5 doi: 10.3372 / epolist2018 .

further reading

  • John Hedley Brooke: Richard Owen, William Whewell, and the Vestiges . In: British Journal for the History of Science Volume 10, 1977, pp. 132-145, doi: 10.1017 / S0007087400015387 .
  • Giovanni Camardi: Richard Owen, Morphology and Evolution . In: Journal of the History of Biology . Volume 34, No. 3, December 2001, pp. 481-515 doi: 10.1023 / A: 1012946930695 .
  • Adrian J. Desmond: Richard Owen's Reaction to Transmutation in the 1830's . In: The British Journal for the History of Science . Volume 18, No. 1, March 1985, pp. 25-50, doi: 10.1017 / S0007087400021683 .
  • Adrian J. Desmond: Designing the Dinosaur: Richard Owen's Response to Robert Edmond Grant . In: Isis . Volume 70, No. 2, 1979, pp. 224-234; JSTOR 230789 .
  • Roy M. MacLeod: Evolutionism and Richard Owen, 1830–1868: An Episode in Darwin's Century . In: Isis . Vol. 56, No. 3, 1965, pp. 259-280 JSTOR .
  • Brian G. Gardiner: Edward Forbes, Richard Owen, and the Red Lions . In: Archives of Natural History . Volume 20, No. 3, 1993, pp. 349-372.
  • Richard Startin Owen: The Life of Richard Owen . London: J. Murray, 1894, 2 volumes (with contributions by Charles Davies Sherborn ); Volume 1 , Volume 2 .
  • Evelleen Richards: A Question of Properly Rights: Richard Owen's Evolutionism Reassessed . In: The British Journal for the History of Science . Vol. 20, No. 2, 1987, pp. 129-171; doi: 10.1017 / S0007087400023724 .
  • Nicolaas A. Rupke: Richard Owen's Vertebrate Archetype . In: Isis . Volume 84, No. 2, 1993, pp. 231-251, JSTOR .
  • Nicolaas A. Rupke: Richard Owen: Biology without Darwin . Revised edition, University Of Chicago Press 2009, ISBN 978-0-226-73177-3 .
  • Nicholas A. Rupke: Richard Owen's Hunterian Lectures on Comparative Anatomy and Physiology, 1837–55 . In: Medical History . Volume 29, 1985, pp. 237-258.

Web links

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