Six innovative scientists who helped us decipher what dinosaurs looked like

9th March 2016

Richard Owen (1804-1892)

Richard Owen © Science & Society

Head of what is now the Natural History Museum, Richard Owen was an influential anatomist and palaeontologist, who described dinosaurs as a group. He reconstructed a series of the earliest known species, including Megalosaurus, Iguanodon and Hylaeosaurus.


John Ostrom (1928-2005)

John Ostrom © Yale University

John Ostrom discovered and described Deinonychus, now hailed as one of the most important fossil finds in history. He reconstructed it as a speedy, warm-blooded predator – at odds with the perception that dinosaurs were slow and lumbering. He brought back the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs.


Robert T Bakker (1945-)

Robert T Bakker © Ed Schipul/wikipedia commons

Robert T Bakker was a student of John Ostrom. Bakker went on to lead the charge of the ‘dinosaur renaissance’, theorising on physiology and locomotion and stirring up controversy by suggesting that, unlike modern lizards, dinosaurs were warm-blooded. The jury is still out on that one.


Gregory S Paul (1954-)

Gregory S Paul

Gregory S Paul is an artist and palaeontologist whose books and anatomically accurate dinosaur illustrations have inspired a generation of artists and many of the dinosaur illustrations you see today. His work pioneered the revised look of dinosaurs in the 1970s.


Mike Benton (1956-)

Mike Benton © The Royal Society

Mike Benton is a palaeontologist at the University of Bristol. He led a team of researchers in 2010 to determine the colour of dinosaurs. They showed that Sinosauropteryx was covered in fluffy ginger and white feathers.


Xu Xing (1956-)

Xu Xing © Alamy

Xu Xing has discovered more dinosaurs than just about anyone else alive today. These include more than half of the feathered dinos found in China.


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