Sir Richard Owen, English naturalist and paleontologist, c 1860.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Mezzotint engraving by D J Pound after a photograph by John and Charles Watkins. Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892) studied comparative anatomy under John Barclay (1758-1826) at Edinburgh University, continuing his studies at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London. In 1826 he became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons. From 1836-56 he was Hunterian Profesor of Comparative Anatomy and Physiology, and, from 1856-83, the first Superintendent of the British Museum. He is famous for his work on British fosils, and his categorisation of dinosaurs, and wrote over 600 scientific papers during his career - including the pioneer esay 'Parthenogenesis'. He opposed Darwin's (1809-1882) theory of evolution which eventually led to his academic downfall.