: the type genus of Dinornithidae comprising the largest of the moas

Word History


borrowed from New Latin, from din- dino- + -ornis -ornis

Note: Name introduced by the British biologist and paleontologist Richard Owen (1804-92) in Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, Part 11 (1843), Session of January 24, 1843, p. 10: "The results of the foregoing comparisons justify the reference of the Great Bird of New Zealand to a distinct genus in the Struthious order, for which I propose the name Dinornis, with the specific appellation Novæ Zealandiæ." Owen's earlier surmisal of the existence of the species from a single bone fragment was a signal episode in the history of 19th-century biology. For details, see Gowan Dawson "On Richard Owen's Discovery, in 1839, of the Extinct New Zealand Moa from Just a Single Bone," BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History [on-line publication, www.branchcollective.org, accessed 9/10/2014].

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Cite this Entry

“Dinornis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Dinornis. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

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