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Sir Richard Owen with a giant moa

Sir Richard Owen with a giant moa

H415/0036

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Credit

GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Richard Owen. Portrait of Sir Richard Owen (1804- 1892), British palaeontologist, with a skeleton of a giant moa, an extinct bird from New Zealand. Owen was the first to describe the giant moa and did extensive research on other fossils and coined the term "dinosaur". He organised the first reconstruction of dinosaurs at the Great Exhibition of London in 1851. Owen initially opposed Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection, believing instead that evolution was due to the action of a "vital force" within cells. He later changed his views as Darwin's ideas became widely accepted. Moas were plentiful until New Zealand was first settled by people about 1000 years ago. Photographed in 1879.

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