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Rare vertebrate paleontology book, Owen, Richard; The Principal Forms of the Skeleton and of the Teeth. 1854.

$300.00

Rare vertebrate paleontology book, Owen, Richard; The Principal Forms of the Skeleton and of the Teeth. 1854.

$300.00
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Book 630-B
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Owen, Richard; The Principal Forms of the Skeleton and of the Teeth. Philadelphia, 1854. Octavo, pp. xv, 329, 16 (ads), 76 illustrations.

The text is in the original cloth with a later cloth spine to match and title label in black. The binding is tight an clean. The text is bright, book plate of noted geologist Benjamin K. Emerson on paste down. In very good condition.

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The noted anatomist and paleontologist Richard Owen (1804-1892) was born in Lancaster, England. He entered the University of Edinburgh medical school in 1824 but was displeased with the quality of teaching, especially in comparative anatomy and enrolled in Barclay School, a private school offering instruction in anatomy.
Owen was soon to become an assistant in cataloging the Hunterian Collection of thirteen thousand human and animal anatomical specimens, which had been purchased by the Crown after the death of its owner, the famous surgeon John Hunter. Owen then became Hunterian Lecturer in comparative anatomy, charged with giving lectures on anatomy that would make use of the Hunterian collections. In 1837, Owen gave his first series of Hunterian Lectures to the public. These were well received and attended by royalty and many important figures including Charles Darwin. At that time Owen was working on describing the fossil vertebrates which Darwin had brought back from South America.
In 1856, Owen was appointed Superintendent of the natural history collections at the British Museum. He immediately started a campaign to make the natural history departments of the British Museum into a separate museum. His campaign bore fruit with the construction, beginning in 1873, of a new building in South Kensington to house the newly created British Museum (Natural History). The Museum opened its doors in 1881, but only in 1963 was it made fully independent from the British Museum and renamed the Natural History Museum.
Owens taxonomic work included a number of important discoveries, and his concept of homology, reinterpreted in evolutionary terms, remains an extremely important and still-contentious biological concept.
His small book on the vertebrate skeleton and teeth is an excellent example of his contributions. Owen discusses the principles of osteology, the composition of bones, their classification, growth and structure. He then proceeds to describe the osteology of the various vertebrates and the bone structure and teeth in each type. The work is ususally seen in a 2006 paperback reprint.

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