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Re: O. grandis or the great train robbery



In a message dated 95-08-11 13:55:47 EDT, jdhexen@unr.edu (Jane P. Davidson)
writes:

>Thomas Holtz opined humorously that just maybe the Cope Marsh war went on
>for a while and that's why he can't find the __O. grandis specimen at AMNH
>or Acad. Nat.  Sciences or I guess anywhere else.  I could just see
>someone standing on a siding at Princeton station holding up the train. :)
>There's probably a less romantic explanation for some of this.  There is
>one letter from William D. Matthew via his boss, Henry F. Osborn to Cope
>regarding a missing part of one specimen (Matthew's job at AMNH was to
>wade thru the huge amount of materials which comprised the parts of Cope
>collection of specimens that went to the Museum in 1894 in order to
>catalog same).  He inquired whether Cope had actually sent the complete
>specimen.  Since there were literally thousands of items, according to
>Matthew something like 10,000) and since Cope was himself pretty
>indundated with materials which he shipped home from the field and didn't
>always get back to for quite a long time (sounds familiar yes?) it would
>not be surprising if something seemed to have gone astray.  There were
>even items which arrived at AMNH which they had not actually purchased and
>which were duely sent back to Cope.  Letters from Henry F. Osborn to Cope
>indicate such problems and that from time to time they had "very great
>difficulty in distinguishing some of your identifications..."  If any of
>you have ever tried to read E. D.'s handwriting, you can get further
>insight into this as well ;-) Anyway its possible I think that your __O.
>grandis specimen might have been in such a situation.  Jane D. 
>
>

The _Ornithomimus grandis_ type specimen was collected by Hatcher for Marsh,
not Cope, so it is very unlikely to be in the Cope collections at ANSP and
AMNH. The places to start looking are Yale and the USNM. Jack McIntosh has
looked in both places and turned up nothing, and Mike Brett-Surman told me
there is no such specimen at USNM as far as he knows.

It's anyone's guess now.

G.O.