Henry Fairfield Osborn
Henry Fairfield Osborn
|Born||August 8, 1857|
|Died||November 6, 1935|
|Alma mater||Princeton University|
|Known for||Geology, paleontology, eugenics|
Henry Fairfield Osborn, Sr. FRS (August 8, 1857 – November 6, 1935) was an American paleontologist, and geologist. He was the president of the American Museum of Natural History for 25 years.
Osborn was one of the great dinosaur fossil hunters of the late 19th century, and a eugenist.
Osborn got a Sc.D. in paleontology from Princeton, and was Professor of Comparative Anatomy there from 1883–1890. In 1891, Osborn was hired by Columbia University as a professor of zoology. At the same time, he got a position at the American Museum of Natural History, New York. He served there as the curator of the newly formed Department of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Osborn led the American Museum expedition to Mongolia in 1922–25.
Osborn named and wrote the first descriptions of Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor, and many other dinosaurs. His biographer Ronald Rainger said he was "a first-rate science administrator and a third-rate scientist". This seems rather an extreme view: some of the problems he faced are still problems today. For example, he studied Struthiomimus, which is a lightweight running dinosaur. Its lifestyle is still not very clear today.
Under his leadership, staff of the American Museum of Natural History worked on displays. The museum became one of the top exhibitions in the early twentieth century. As a result, the murals, habitat dioramas, and dinosaur mounts attracted millions of visitors, and inspired other museums to imitate. His decision to invest heavily in exhibitions angered curators who hoped to spend more time on their own research.
References[change | change source]
- ↑ See Rainger, Ronald 1991. An agenda for antiquity: Henry Fairfield Osborn and vertebrate paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, 1890–1935. Tuscaloose, AB: University of Alabama Press.
- ↑ On the American Museum's habitat dioramas, see http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/dioramas/; Karen Wonders. Habitat Dioramas, (Figura Nova Series 25: Acta Universitatis Uppsaliensis, 1993).
- ↑ Cain, Victoria 2011. The art of authority: exhibits, exhibit makers and the contest for scientific status at the American Museum of Natural History, 1920–1940. Science in Context 24, (2).