PALEONTOLOGY – BONE WARS

£500

Edward Drinker Cope was an American paleontologist and comparative anatomist, as well as a noted herpetologist and ichthyologist. However, he is remembered not only for his scientific contributions but also for his personal feud with Othniel Charles Marsh which led to the fossil-finding race known as the ‘Bone Wars’.

COPE, E. D.

The Vertebrata of the Cretaceous Formations of the West

FIRST EDITION, 57 lithograph plates, occasional light foxing, publishers maroon cloth, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1875

Edward Drinker Cope was an American paleontologist and comparative anatomist, as well as a noted herpetologist and ichthyologist. However, he is remembered not only for his scientific contributions but also for his personal feud with Othniel Charles Marsh which led to the fossil-finding race known as the ‘Bone Wars’.

Using his influence in Washington, D.C., Cope was granted a position on the U.S. Geological Survey under Ferdinand Hayden. While the position offered no salary, it afforded Cope a great opportunity to collect fossils in the West and publish his finds. Cope’s flair for dramatic writing suited Hayden, who needed to make a popular impression with the official survey reports.

The Bone Wars, or Great Dinosaur Rush, was a period of intense and ruthlessly competitive fossil hunting and discovery during the Gilded Age of American history, marked by a heated rivalry between Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh. Both used underhanded methods to try to outdo the other in the field, resorting to bribery, theft, and the destruction of bones. Each scientist also sought to ruin his rival’s reputation and cut off his funding, using attacks in scientific publications.

“Most scientists of the day recoiled to find that Cope’s feud with Marsh had become front-page news. Those closest to the scientific fields under discussion, geology and vertebrate paleontology, certainly winced, particularly as they found themselves quoted, mentioned, or mis-spelled. The feud was not news to them, for it had lurked at their scientific meetings for two decades. Most of them had already taken sides”

Cope and Marsh were financially and socially ruined by their attempts to outdo and disgrace each other, but they made important contributions to the field of paleontology. The efforts of the two men led to more than 136 new species of dinosaurs being discovered and described.

Including some of the most well-known dinosaurs; species of Triceratops, Allosaurus, Diplodocus, Stegosaurus, Camarasaurus and Coelophysis. Their cumulative discoveries defined the field of paleontology; before Cope’s and Marsh’s discoveries, there were only nine named species of dinosaur in North America. The Bone Wars also led to the discovery of the first complete skeletons, and the rise in popularity of dinosaurs with the public.

MARSH, OTHNIEL CHARLES

The Dinosaurs of North America

FIRST EDITION, lacking title, text illustration, 85 lithograph plates, black morocco, new end papers, 4to, Washington, 1869

Othniel Charles Marsh was an American paleontologist. Marsh was one of the preeminent scientists in the field; the discovery or description of dozens of new species and theories on the origins of birds are among his legacies. From the 1870s to 1890s he competed with rival paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope in a period of frenzied Western American expeditions known as the Bone Wars. The scientific world has been indebted to both men ever since. Marsh’s greatest legacy is the collection of Mesozoic reptiles, Cretaceous birds, and Mesozoic and Tertiary mammals that now constitute the backbone of the collections of Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution. Marsh has been called “both a superb paleontologist and the greatest proponent of Darwinism in nineteenth-century America.”

HATCHER, JOHN B.

Monographs of the United States Geological Survey Volume XLIX, The Ceratopsia

FIRST EDITION, illustrated frontispiece, 51 plates, many folding, publishers red cloth, slightly rubbed, inner joint cracked, 4to, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1907

John Bell Hatcher, the ‘King of Collectors’, was an American Paleontologist and fossil hunter. He was responsible for discovering Torosaurus and Triceratops, two genera of Dinosaurs described by Othniel Charles Marsh.

While a student at Yale he showed a natural fondness for scientific pursuits, attracting the attention of Professor Othniel C. Marsh, the celebrated Naturalist, at that time paleontologist of the United States Geological Survey. After Hatcher received his diploma, Professor Marsh commissioned him to undertake a palaeontological investigation in south – western Nebraska. From the summer of 1884 until the year 1893 he was continuously in the employment of Professor Marsh. During these years he conducted explorations over a wide area in the States of Nebraska, the Dakotas. Montana, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. His success as a collector was phenomenal, and the scientific treasures which he unearthed greatly enriched the collections of the United States Geological Survey and of the Peabody Museum in New Haven. It was upon the collections of vertebrate fossils made by J. B. Hatcher that Professor Othniel O. Marsh based to a very large extent many of his most important papers, and to Hatcher more than to any other man is due the discovery and collection of the Ceratopsia, perhaps the most striking of all the extinct reptilia.

LULL, RICHARD SWANN

A Revision of the Ceratopsia or Horned Dinosaurs , Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Natural History Yale University, Volume 3, Part 3

FIRST EDITION, illustrated frontispiece, text illustrations, 17 photographic plates, New Haven, Connecticut, 1933

Richard Swann Lull was an American paleontologist and Sterling Professoor at Yale University. He is largely remembered for championing a non-Darwininan view of evolution which was a form of orthogenesis.

This volume concerns the Arrhinoceratops, a genus of the herbivorous ceratopsian dinosaur. Coined by William Arthur Parks, it was special because the nose-horn was not a separate bone. Lull is politely critical of Parks’ original description. It was revealed Parks had made several mistakes, the most notable of these was that the very train the genus is named after was in fact normal for the ceratopids. Helen Tyson concluded it was closely related to Torosaurus, probably even its direct ancestor.

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