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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...)


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Paul Sereno2

Paul Sereno is an American paleontologist who is the discoverer of several new dinosaur species on several continents. He has conducted excavations at sites as varied as Inner Mongolia, Argentina, Morocco and Niger. He is a professor at the University of Chicago and a National Geographic "explorer-in-residence." Sereno's most widely publicized discovery is that of a nearly complete specimen of Sarcosuchus imperator (popularly known as SuperCroc) at Gadoufaoua in the Tenere desert of Niger. Other major discoveries include Eoraptor - the oldest known dinosaur fossil, Jobaria, the first good skull of Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis, Afrovenator, Suchomimus and the African pterosaur. (Read more...)

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"I want to find a voracious, small-minded predator and name it after the IRS."
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Beipaiosaurus 2009 multi

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 therizinosauroid theropod dinosaur. 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 Cretaceous Period, 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.

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