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Re: Cope's skull
To Jane, Cathy, and everyone else:
The rumor that the skull MAY not have been Cope's first surfaced in an
article in the "Philadelphia Inquirer" (a real, live Pulitzer-prize-winning
newspaper - NOT The "National Enquirer"). It was shortly after Psihoyos
returned the skull (in a specially constructed display box) that various
people at the Academy of Natural Sciences brought up the possible that the
skull did not match the skeleton. (I apologize - I meant the Wistar
Institute was the possesor of the skull). Ted Daeschler may have been
quoted in that article (I'll ask him if I see him). If was considered
speculation - but somehow fittingly ironic.
I hope that I will see Earle tomorrow night - if he attends the DVPS
meeting. I'll ask him about the type specimen confusion.
Let me add one little tidbit about Cope's skeleton (Jane, feel free to
confirm, deny, or elaborate): It was said that the students would dress his
skelton up as a Christmas tree for the holiday. One of the DVPS members
went on a visit to see the skeleton (and other things as well). He said
when they saw the skeleton, they were allowed to touch it, and he said the
bones he touched felt sticky, like they still had some of the body's grease
on them. And sticking to one piece of bone, he saw a little bit of tinsel.
From: Jane P. Davidson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Allan Edels <email@example.com>
Cc: dinosaur list <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Earle Spamer <email@example.com>
Date: Tuesday, May 26, 1998 11:48 AM
Subject: Cope's skull
>Hi all. I think many of you know I am Cope's biographer. The skull is
>back at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at U. Penn.
>It is my understanding that yes, the Museum was VERY upset with what Louis
>Psihoyos did with Cope's remains. The skull is that of Cope. Cope was
>not entirely without his natural teeth when he died. He had extensive
>dental work, but a few natural teeth remaining. It is my understanding
>that some of these are still stored in the box which contains his
>The story that is skull might not be his is a myth. There was supposedly
>an "accident" in which Cope's brain, which is the property of the Wistar
>Institute at Penn, had been dropped and destroyed or damaged. That is
>also not true. It is intact and the jar in which it is preserved was
>never dropped. Somehow the story of the brain got blended in Cope
>mythology with the story of the skull's being not Cope's. I.e. that
>Cope's skull was lost or destroyed also.
>Earle Spamer of the Academy of Natural Sciences is presently preparing
>some comments about the case Bakker's selecting Cope to be the type of H.
>sapiens. These I understand will appear in the Proceedings of the
>Academy. Since I am not sure whether Earle is still on dinosaur, I
>included his address in this post and you can write him directly if you
>have any question or comment for him. It is my understanding too that
>Linneaus was indeed named as the type. Edward Drinker Cope was/is
>CERTAINLY NOT the type. In my book The Bone Sharp, I have a lengthy
>discussion of Cope's remains and their present status and conditions.
> Jane P. Davidson PhD
>University of Nevada Reno
>my site is mirrored at
>On your gravestone they put the date you are born and the date your die.
>In between they put a dash. That dash is your life. Art Bell