- Historical event
- 18 December 1892
- For large reptiles that lived a few hundred million years ago he invented the name “dinosaurs” – in which he combined the two Greek words: “deinos” (awesome, terrible) and “sauros” (lizard).
Scientist Richard Owen, who invented the term “dinosaurs” for describing the large creatures that once lived on our planet, died on this day. Owen was a trained doctor, but over time he was more and more drawn into studying anatomy. In the end he completely switched from medical practice to scientific research. Richard Owen and Charles Darwin belonged to the same generation of English scientists (Owen was only four-and-a-half years older than Darwin).
Owen specialized in studying the anatomy of extinct animals. For the large animals that lived a few hundred million years ago, he invented the name “dinosaurs” – in which he combined the two Greek words: “deinos” (awesome, terrible) and “sauros” (lizard). This name has been in use since 1842. As a scientist, Owen was granted right of first refusal on any dead animal at the London Zoo. One day his wife arrived home to find a dead rhinoceros at their door. Richard Owen outlived his wife, and their only son. He died at the age of 88 years, precisely on this day in 1892.