Artifacts & Documents: Pictures and Paintings

Richard Owen and the Moa

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In 1839, after examining a fossilized bone fragment from New Zealand, the English paleontologist and anatomist Richard Owen declared that because the fragment was similar to an ostrich bone, it proved the existence of the extinct moa, a large flightless bird. The discovery of the moa bolstered Edward Hitchcock's claim that fossil tracks found in the Connecticut River Valley were made by another giant bird that, like the moa, had gone extinct, but millions of years earlier.

John Van Voorst
paper, ink
Courtesy of:
Wikimedia Commons