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Edward Cope and the Reconstructed Elasmosaurus

Edward Cope and the Reconstructed Elasmosaurus Biographies Famous Historical Events Famous People STEM Ethics Nineteenth Century Life

Edward Cope and Othniel C. Marsh began a professional rivalry when they worked with incomplete skeletons of dinosaurs.  No one had all the answers about the fossilized remains of ancient animals.  It was easy to make errors, particularly when people rushed to publish their “discoveries” and “findings.”

The Cope-Marsh antagonism grew rather dramatically  after Cope made an error reconstructing an Elasmosaurus. He placed the creature’s head on the wrong end of its body and then published his work.

When Marsh pointed out the flaw, Cope was mortified. He tried to buy back all the illustration plates so he could correct his error.  He wasn’t successful in that endeavor.

This image depicts Edward Cope.


Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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"Edward Cope and the Reconstructed Elasmosaurus" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Nov 21, 2019.
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