Sir Richard Owen 1842

Richard Owen
Richard Owen
Born20 July 1804
Died18 December 1892 | Age 88

The word Dinosaur was invented by Richard Owen.

Although dinosaur fossils were being discovered in Britain, and around the world, these prehistoric reptiles did not receive their famous name until 1842.

Dinosaur is born
As a young man Owen recognised the fossils found at the Jurassic coast shared a number of distinctive features.
He said they were terrible lizards. A diverse family of awesome animals that deserved their own distinct taxonomic group - which he named Dinosauria. The word dinosaur from Greek dino "terrible", "awesome" or "fearfully great" and saurus for "lizard". So you can think of a dinosaur as an Awesome lizard

Sir Richard Owen plaque
Sir Richard Owen plaque

The palaeontologist, came from a poor background in Lancashire to become what we might call a celebrity scientist today. He was labelled "impudent" by teachers at Lancaster Royal Grammar School.


The first scientifically named dinosaur is Megalosaurus it was a large Theropod dinosaur and was the first dinosaur skeleton ever discovered. It was discovered by William Buckland in the 1824. However, Richard Plot had discovered this dinosaur's femur, which he called "Scrotum humanum", in 1627, nearly two centuries before.
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