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David Marjanovic (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
<Or Cope, for that matter. Horrible. Typically, it seems, a few small pages of
pure text where 3 vertebrae are "described" as 2 new taxa. "Pure text" as in
"no illustration whatsoever".>
Cope and Marsh were submitting most of these as missives from the field, in
order to attempt to establish priority of finds they'd found, even in direct
knowledge of the other having found one or two specimens of the same taxon.
This led to the synonymy listing for *Uintatherium* and *Notharctos*, for
example. Both were trying to get THEIR name in the same territory at the same
time, telegraphing notes to be read into minutes, before they returned home to
actually STUDY the things.
Cope may be vindicated for having disputed the identity of *Eobasileus* with
Marsh, since *E. cornutum* was argued by Marsh to be a synonym of Marsh's
*Dinoceras*, which was promoted by ignoring Leidy's *Uintatherium*; Cope
actually accepted *E. cornutum* as a synonym of his ealier taxon
*Loxolophodon*, which was also a synonym of *Uintatherium*. Leidy's pleas that
they sit down and study before publishing lead to both men becoming either
territorial or vindictive in their assessment of each other's works. So the
tiny notes were only icing on the "feud", essentially mild aspects of a flame
war. T. H. Huxley disparaged this brand of publication, since it prevented
study and research, and thus ignored the point of publication, and dismissed
"American science" as nothing of the sort.
If the two men had kept their cool, if Cope wasn't so prideful and Marsh less
territorial about what he felt was _his_, even when Cope went to New Mexico and
Marsh sent Baldwin down after him to reconoiter on his own (hypocrisy was rife
with Marsh's territorialism), American paleontology in it's golden age would
have been MUCH better. As it is, we are still dealing with the synonymy issues
of overabundant naming and name-calling, such as Cure's 2000 paper in _Mesozoic
Vertebrate Life_ dealing with "Laelaps" teeth.
Jaime A. Headden
"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)
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