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?
A composite picture of Beipiaosaurus above [image from Xu et al. (2009)], and a close-up of its neck region is shown at bottom left of the composite. The image at bottom right in the composite is the tail of another specimen. Scale bar in A = 50 mm]. Beipiaosaurus. Beipiaosaurus is a genus of therizinosauroidtheropoddinosaur. The discovery of Beipiaosaurus, which translates as "Beipiao lizard" after a city in China near the location of its discovery, was announced in the May 27, 1999, issue of the journal Nature. These fossils were found in Liaoning Province, China and have been dated to the Early CretaceousPeriod, about 125 million years ago. It is known from a single species, B. inexpectus, named for "the surprising features in this animal.". A significant number of fossilized bones for this species were recovered, including: cranial fragments, a mandible, three cervical vertebrae, four dorsal vertebrae, a caudal vertebra, the scapula and scapulacoracoid, a complete forelimb, and a complete pelvis with hindlimb. A second specimen was described by Xu et al. in 2009, which preserved a complete skull as well as a significant covering of unique, elongated feathers.