Story: Geological exploration

Richard Owen and Dinornis giganteus

Richard Owen and Dinornis giganteus

Richard Owen, who became director of London’s Museum of Natural History, was the first to recognise that a bone fragment he was shown in 1839 came from a large bird. When later sent collections of bird bones, he managed to reconstruct moa skeletons. In this photograph, published in 1879, he stands next to the largest of all moa, Dinornis giganteus, while holding the first bone fragment he had examined 40 years earlier.

Using this item

National Library of New Zealand, General Lending Collection
Reference: Richard Owen, Memoirs on the extinct wingless birds of New Zealand. Vol. 2. London: John van Voorst, 1879, plate XCVII

Permission of the National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Simon Nathan, 'Geological exploration - Early European exploration', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 January 2022)

Story by Simon Nathan, published 12 Jun 2006