Dinosaur Wars on PBSPosted: January 14, 2011
Got this message today from Dr. Tony Fiorllo, Curator of Paleontology at MNS:
FYI, for those of you interested in history, intrigue, or just basic dinosaurs, PBS American Experience has a show airing on January 18 entitled “Dinosaur Wars.” The story of the great rivalry that occurred in the late 1800s between Edward Drinker Cope of Philadelphia and Othniel C. Marsh of Yale University is filled with cloak and dagger adventure in the old west. Spies, rerouting of train loads of fossils, armed camps, political intrigue in Washington, Indian encounters and more are all part of the stories that I am sure will be covered.
The competition between these two individuals coincides with the settling of the American West and the discovery of remarkably rich dinosaur deposits found there which provided the world the first look at complete dinosaur skeletons. Whereas the science at times was sacrificed for personal gain, the point remains that for decades these two individuals ruled the profession of paleontology. Some historians have argued that, whereas the fields of biology, chemistry, and physics had already been established, one of the results of this intense competition is that paleontology was uniquely American as it put the United States on the world scientific map by improving our understanding of life through time.