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Random Details About The Bone Wars: Feud That Created And Almost Destroyed Paleontology

  • Marsh Received Financial Support From A Wealthy Uncle on Random Details About The Bone Wars: Feud That Created And Almost Destroyed Paleontology

    (#14) Marsh Received Financial Support From A Wealthy Uncle

    Although Othniel Marsh grew up poor, he benefited from the generosity of a wealthy uncle, philanthropist George Peabody. Uncle Peabody founded Museum of Natural Science at Yale University, and it was no coincidence that Marsh received his first academic position there soon after. The financial aid of his uncle, who funded many of his studies, along with the connections he provided, helped Marsh keep up with Edward Cope, who had grown up in a privileged household and received a large inheritance of his own.

    In addition to his position at Yale, Marsh continued to get breaks as his career progressed. In the 1880s, he became the head of the U.S. Geological Survey, which allowed him to intensify his fossil-hunting endeavors.

  • Eventually, Agents Weren’t Enough And The Paleontologists Hired Dinosaur Rustlers on Random Details About The Bone Wars: Feud That Created And Almost Destroyed Paleontology

    (#5) Eventually, Agents Weren’t Enough And The Paleontologists Hired Dinosaur Rustlers

    As the intensity of the Bone Wars picked up, the pair started to hire dinosaur rustlers to gain an advantage over the other. At the hotly-contested area of Como Bluff, WY, Cope hired a prospector to steal bones from Marsh’s dig site. This became standard practice, with dinosaur rustlers thieving fossils, spying on excavations, and even pelting rival workers with stones. On at least one occasion, guns were brandished and the Bone Wars threatened to turn into a real war, but cooler heads prevailed, and the bloodshed remained purely theoretical.

  • The Bone Wars Began With A Simple Case Of Bribery on Random Details About The Bone Wars: Feud That Created And Almost Destroyed Paleontology

    (#6) The Bone Wars Began With A Simple Case Of Bribery

    Joseph Leidy, a respected paleontologist and mentor to Edward Cope, discovered the first American dinosaur, a Hadrosaurus, in Haddonfield, NJ, in 1856. The Bone Wars began more than a decade later when Cope joined the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences and began fossil-hunting at the same site by proxy—paying workers to dig up bones and send them to him. Othniel Marsh visited Haddonfield in 1868, and was so impressed with the fossils there that he bribed some of the workers to send any interesting finds his way instead of to Cope. When Cope found out, he was furious, and the Bone Wars had begun.

  • At One Point, Marsh And Cope Were Good Enough Friends That They Named Dinosaurs After One Another on Random Details About The Bone Wars: Feud That Created And Almost Destroyed Paleontology

    (#7) At One Point, Marsh And Cope Were Good Enough Friends That They Named Dinosaurs After One Another

    Although Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope became lifelong rivals in the field of paleontology, they started their professional relationship on friendlier terms. The two met while studying abroad in Berlin in 1864 and were apparently rather impressed with one another. Early in their fossil-hunting careers, both Cope and Marsh named species after one another.

    The two were likely too different to forge a lasting friendship, though. Marsh grew up poor and received a generous inheritance from his uncle to fund his career. He believed in Darwinism and had an attention to detail inspired by his modest upbringing. Cope, on the other hand, came from a wealthy family and had a looser, flashier approach to his research. He supported Neo-Lamarckism and became a professor despite little formal education.

  • The Wild West Held Some Of Marsh And Cope's Greatest Discoveries on Random Details About The Bone Wars: Feud That Created And Almost Destroyed Paleontology

    (#11) The Wild West Held Some Of Marsh And Cope's Greatest Discoveries

    When railroad expansion opened up the American West in the 1870s, it also opened up a world of opportunity for fossil hunters, and Marsh and Cope raced to take advantage of this new frontier. The paleontology professors sent employees to states like Wyoming and Colorado in an attempt to discover new species before their rival. These new territories proved to be fertile grounds for paleontology, turning up significant finds like the Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Allosaurus. Paleontology flourished, but unfortunately, the intensity of the competition between Marsh and Cope led to some seriously questionable science in the midst of all the discoveries.

  • Thumb of The Bone Wars Were Largely Conducted By Secret Paleontology Agents Traveling Across The Country video

    (#4) The Bone Wars Were Largely Conducted By Secret Paleontology Agents Traveling Across The Country

    Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope often worked in the field early in their careers, but the majority of the Bone Wars were conducted through proxies. Both Marsh and Cope sent agents, some of whom included their students, across America to find dig sites and procure the best fossils available. These agents were also tasked with obscuring their actions from the other side and attempting to stay one step ahead of their rivals. Marsh’s superior financial means and looser morals allowed his agents to frequently gain an edge through outright bribery, but Cope also engaged in his fair share of shady activity.

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Bone Wars occurred in the late 19th century, two famous paleontologists competed with each other to discover more and more famous new dinosaurs. This fierce and notorious competition involves bribery, politics, violence in Native American territories, and personal assaults. They achieved great success but also damaged the reputation of paleontology with many misconducts.

The competition between them has lasted for 30 years, and they had a significant impact on paleontology, but many fossils have been destroyed and many important fossils may have disappeared from the earth. The random tool explained 16 facts about the Bone Wars here.

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