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February 03, 2009

The Bone Wars

Dinosaur_bones The Bone Wars refers to a period of intense fossil speculation and discovery during the Gilded Age of American history, marked by a heated rivalry between Edward Drinker Cope (of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia) and Othniel Charles Marsh (of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale). Each of the two paleontologists used underhanded methods to try to out-compete the other in the field, resorting to bribery, theft, and destruction of bones.

Each scientist also attacked the other in scientific publications, seeking to ruin his credibility and have his funding cut off.

Their pursuit of fossils led them west to rich bone beds in Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming. From 1877 to 1892, both paleontologists used their wealth and influence to finance their own expeditions and to procure services and dinosaur bones from fossil hunters. By the end of the Bone Wars, both men had exhausted their funds in the pursuit of pale ontological supremacy

(Thank you, Chortle)

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Un-related: Eye's on the back of my head, a gallery of 12. Also there, a Turdle for sale

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February 3, 2009 in American History | Permalink


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Posted by: Jason at Feb 5, 2009 3:26:44 PM

Bone Wars is a good story, which was also covered very well and really funny by Bill Bryson in A Short History of Nearly Everything.

Posted by: Moon at Feb 5, 2009 8:22:16 PM

well, i know one but he is the biggest a-hole in the house.

Posted by: hemaworstje at Feb 6, 2009 1:55:21 PM