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Famous Tasmanian Prospectors

Sir Richard Owen

Famous Tasmanian Prospectors, Explorers and Track Cutters

Moderator: Philski

by Philski » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:21 pm

While not a prospector as such. Sir Richard Owen (1804 - 1892) was instrumental in defining Australia's fossil record by discovering the Diprotodon, (Giant wombat) Giant Kangaroo, Marsupial Lion, and naming the Dinosaur Dinosauria From the Greek (deinos)"terrible, powerful, wondrous & (sauria) Lizard) that dominated the landscape till the Cretaceous (66 million Years ago).

He was an opponent of Charles Darwin and his famous work. Darwin, (1859) On the Origin of Species.
The feuding between Owen and Darwin's supporters was never ending. Owen was found to be involved in a threat to end government funding of Joseph Dalton Hooker's botanical collection, at Kew, possibly trying to bring it under his British Museum. Darwin commented that "I used to be ashamed of hating him so much, but now I will carefully cherish my hatred & contempt to the last days of my life" hooker and Huxley where Darwin's two biggest supporters.

When Huxley joined the Zoological Society Council, in 1861, Owen left and, in the following year, Huxley moved to stop Owen from being elected to the Royal Society Council, accusing him "of wilful & deliberate falsehood"
Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Owen

Richard Owen had a different view on how life evolved using fossils records as a reference and the distinction between the brain of a Human and that of an ape. He even compared Huxley to an ape with reference to brain size and function. There was bound to be some colourful. And, i dare say well articulated language. He was fastidious in his detail and also opened up the London Museum to the public for the first time making natural history attractive to more people. The Natural history collection was moved to Kew in London, in its own right. He was also accused of plagiarism later in life. And proven to have done so 4 years after the original author had published. Regardless of its truths or untruths. He did go on to discover more fossilized species than any of his own protractors. He was also educated as a physician in Lancashire in England and became curator of museum of the Royal College of Surgeons and a senior member of the Royal Society in London. He was expelled later for the above.

Mount Owen, in Western Tasmania towers above the town of Queenstown. The name was chosen by Charles Gould as where the majority of the peaks on the Southern West Coast Range. And, by giving the Higher Peaks the names of people opposed or with different views to Charles Darwin's theories on natural selection.
interestingly Huxley and Owen where bitter opponents in real life. Owen was seen as abrupt and not of good character after he was excommunicated from the royal society for plagiarism.

In 1852 Owen named Protichnites – the oldest footprints found on land. And using his knowledge of anatomy, he correctly postulated that these Cambrian foot prints were made by an extinct type of arthropod. Many years before the fossil records of the same arthropod where found near the location to prove it was right once again.

was he right about evolution? Perhaps. His visitors to the Kew Museum of natural history after Darwin published on the origin of species asked if they could see any animals with links to the past Darwin had just written about? and he could offer no evidence in all the specimens the museum housed to show any kind of link.
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by drystone » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:51 pm

fascinating snippet from history. some massive topics were tackled and great leaps in knowledge were made during the 1800's: particularly in the fields of geology and theories of evolution.
Thanks for illuminating one such example Philski
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by Philski » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:40 pm

Hi Drystone, i was only talking about Charles Darwin today with a scientist at work. Did you know Darwin married his cousin Emma Wedgewood. They had the same Grandparents. And,, his Grandparents where also related. i personally think that's why he had such a big interest in all things hereditary. It would have been an awesome time to be alive in, and it was only a few yesterdays ago. And i'm not laughing or taking the piss out of him, I have a bit of those sort of shenanigans going on in my family too.. :roll: Tasmania had very few females in our early colonial days. And some like my family where isolated and limited in genetic diversity. 3 - 4 family's made up the entire population on the peninsular above eagle hawk neck for example. Nobody wanted to live in the direct path of the escaping convicts, if they made it past the dogs and man traps and each other. you where it. hence the sometimes tiny population down that way. Very interesting stuff really and only half a dozen generations ago.
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