The Bone Wars is the name given to a period of intense fossil speculation and discovery during the Gilded Age of American history, marked by a heated rivalry between Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh. Each of the two paleontologists used underhanded methods to out-compete the other in the field, resorting to bribery, theft, and destruction of bones. The scientists also attacked each other in scientific publications, attempting to ruin the other's credibility and cut off his funding. Originally colleagues who were civil to each other, Cope and Marsh became bitter enemies after several personal slights between them. Their pursuit of bones led them west to rich bone beds in Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming. From 1877 to 1892, both paleontologists used their wealth and influence to finance their own expeditions and to procure services and fossils from dinosaur hunters. By the end of the Bone Wars, both men exhausted their funds in fueling their intense rivalry. Cope and Marsh were financially and socially ruined by their efforts to disgrace each other, but their contributions to science and the field of paleontology were massive; the scientists left behind tons of unopened boxes of fossils on their deaths. The feud between the two men led to over 142 new species of dinosaurs being discovered and described. (Read more...)
... that Irritator is only known from a skull that was badly obscured by plaster which was added by the commercial fossil-collecting fossil-poachers who illegally sold it in hopes of making the fossil look more complete and valuable?
... that rhynchosaurs had unique teeth that were modified into broad tooth plates?
... that a trackway produced by an unknown crocodyliform that measured approximately 12 meters in length was uncovered in the Galve region of Spain?
"Why are the bones of great fishes, and oysters and corals and various other shells and sea-snails, found on the high tops of mountains that border the sea, in the same way in which they are found in the depths of the sea?"
—Leonardo da Vinci
'Physical Geography', in The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, trans. E. MacCurdy (1938), Vol. 1, 361.
Like other mosasaurs, Platecarpus had a long, laterally flattened tail, steering flippers, and deadly, tooth-lined jaws. It was around 4.3 meters (14 ft) long, with half of that length being taken up by its sinuous tail. It probably swam in a snake-like fashion. Platecarpus probably fed on fish, squid, and ammonites. They were medium sized animals, reaching about 7 meters (23 ft) in length. The platecarpine mosasaurs had evolved into the very specialized plioplatecarpine group by the end of the Cretaceous.