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The Bone Wars

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, January 23, 2024 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1CV030
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Othniel Charles Marsh (left) and Edward Drinker Cope (right)

Not long after the California Gold Rush, a different frenzy captured Americans’ attention: A rivalry dubbed the Bone Wars emerged in the fledgling field of paleontology between two young scientists, Othniel Charles Cope and Edward Drinker Marsh. Originally amicable colleagues--they even named fossils after each other—they became rivals in a long and bitter turf war complete with theft, corruption, and sabotage. Cope and Marsh would go on to name over 130 species of dinosaurs between them, but each would die impoverished and with damaged reputations due to their relentless fight.

Hans Sues, a paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History, discusses the struggle between Cope and Marsh, plus their contributions to the field of paleontology and to the Smithsonian.

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Inside Science