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O. grandis or the great train robbery



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.