The Public Domain Review

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Professor Megalow’s Dinosaur Bones: Richard Owen and Victorian Literature

Thursday 2 May 2024 at 14:42

Richard Owen, the Victorian scientist who first named the “dinosaurs”, claimed that he could identify an animal, even an extinct one, from inspecting a single bone. Richard Fallon revisits other Owen-inspired fictions — by R. D. Blackmore, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Charles Kingsley — and finds literature layered with scientific, religious, and political interventions, spurred by the discovery of prehistoric life.