[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
RE: Marsh & Cope history
Firstly, I don't recall the paper or the actual specimen involved with the
subterfuge out West, but I do know of a similar situation that may be the
cause of some confusion.
Out West: O. C. Marsh was back at Yale, and his team was digging up
whatever they could - and THEY were photographing and drawing some of E. D.
COPE's fossils and rushing the information to Marsh, who then would publish
Cope's finds as his own (at least with his names). [Marsh's team often
would use binoculars to study Cope's fossils in situ]. Cope's team
discovered this, and set up a phony fossil site. There was a real fossil
there, but very weird parts were added to the skull and backbone, then
covered over as if they were done for the day. (This was done after a lot
of 'excited' activity took place around the fossil). Marsh then published a
monograph on the "new" fossil, and later had to retract it (apparently
explaining it as garbled information from his team). Cope, of course,
published the correct fossil description. [As I said, I don't have the
names of the specimens involved]. Sometimes the teams would dynamite
fossils that they knew they would otherwise have to leave behind for their
In Philadelphia: On the other hand, Cope's team uncovered a plesiosaur
Kansas) which he called _Elasmosaurus_. He reconstructed it carefully (he
thought) back in Philadelphia - however, he put the skull on the wrong end
of the vertebral column. He thought the animal had a short neck and a long,
flat tail. In actuality, it has a long, flat neck and a short tail. The
monograph was published and he was going to unveil the specimen. He
previewed it for Dr. Joseph Leidy, and Prof. Marsh. Marsh told him that the
head was on the wrong end, and pointed out the notches on the caudals that
proved it. Leidy agreed, and Cope called back all the copies of the paper
in order to have the drawings corrected, and to fix most of the verbal
references. Marsh returned his copy of the monograph, but he bought 2 other
copies. And both those copies remain in the Peabody Museum.
There are at least 2 new books about their rivalry. Also, Jane
who is on the list, is Cope's biographer. And Thom Holmes, also on the
list, has written a book about Cope. Either one of them can (and probably
will) describe the feud better than I.
Allan D. Edels
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of
Sent: Thursday, April 27, 2000 10:11 PM
Subject: Marsh & Cope history
Does anyone recall the circumstances surrounding a scientific paper which
written & quite possibly published by Edward D. Cope concerning a fossil
which Marsh's field team had left behind for Cope (or his collectors) to
discover? I believe the Marsh team mixed the skull and teeth of two
What was the paper Cope wrote, and what were the fossils in question?
Thanks for any leads you can provide. My memory can't seem to pry this
information from within.