A History of British Fossil Mammals, and Birds

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Richard Owen (1804-92) was a controversial and influential palaeontologist and anatomist. During his medical studies in Edinburgh and London, he grew interested in anatomical research and, after qualifying as a surgeon, became assistant conservator in the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, and then superintendent of natural history in the British Museum. He became an authority on comparative anatomy and palaeontology, coining the term 'dinosaur' and founding the Natural History Museum. He was also a critic of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, and engaged in a long and bitter argument with Thomas Huxley, known as 'Darwin's bulldog' for his belligerent support of the theory. Published in 1846, this is Owen's comparative anatomical analysis of the fossils of British birds and mammals. It compares living species with extinct ones, and explains the characteristics that help identification, using 237 woodcut illustrations to show the traits of different species.

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