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Sir Richard Owen

Owen, Sir Richard, 1804–92, English zoologist and comparative anatomist. He studied medicine in Edinburgh and in 1827 joined the staff of the Hunterian museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, where he was first Hunterian professor of comparative anatomy and physiology (1836–56) and also conservator. As superintendent (1856–83) of the natural history department of the British Museum, he organized its removal to South Kensington. Owen's contributions to science were many and important. Although he opposed the theory of evolution, he introduced the important concepts of homology and analogy of animal structure, using his extensive findings in paleontology. His monumental work was the Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue of the Physiological Series of Comparative Anatomy (5 vol., 1833–40).

See biography by his grandson R. S. Owen (1894, repr. 1970).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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