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Quest for the missing vert



        After thoroughly searching the collections of the AMNH (with the 
exception of a quasi-mythical "deep storage" area which I hope to access 
during Thanksgiving) I am 90% convinced the 
holotype dorsal vertebra of _Amphicoelias fragillimus_ is not in the 
hallowed halls of the AMNH (sigh).  Assuming (actually hoping) that it 
still exists, I now must seek help from folks in the Philadelphia 
area, where Cope's collection was stored.  Some years ago (the date 
escapes me) a couple of crates of Cope material were discovered at the 
Wagner(?) Institute in Philadelphia.    If the holotype specimen of 
_Amphicoelias fragillimus_ was not destroyed (by, say, being dropped 
between 1877 and the early 1900s) then maybe it was 
misplaced in a "deep storage" area in an institution in Philadelphia.  
Scrutiny of Osborn and Mook (1921) shows the specimen was given a number, 
but it is not clear to me if they actually saw the specimen (though Jack 
McIntosh assures me the specimen did not arrive to NY).  I understand 
the long shot odds of finding the thing, but I really would like a sense 
of closure, I would even settle for a "death certificate" if the 
specimen had been destroyed!  So if anyone sees a rather large, 
apparently fragile, 5'+ neural arch/spine (or has read some 
interesting curatorial notes in obscure collection catalogues) please 
report its whereabouts to this list for a reward...
        
        Brian Curtice
        

"If it doesn't have air sacs its not worth collecting..."