Saturday, September 4, 2010

THE GILDED DINOSAUR: The Fossil War Between E.D. Cope and O.C. Marshand the Rise of American Science.(Review)(Brief Article).


War, originally uploaded by Philip H Levy.
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Science in general and paleontology in particular came of age in America during the second half of the 19th century. Two of the dominant figures of the time, E.D. Cope and O.C. Marsh, were responsible for uncovering and naming most of the dinosaurs found in America while feuding with one another for all of their adult lives. Journalist Jaffe (And No Birds Sing) does an admirable job of bringing these two, as well as the myriad politicians and scientists they interacted with, to life. Rather than focusing narrowly on their feud, as does David Rains Wallace in his recent The Bonehunters' Revenge, Jaffe provides much more context for their disagreement and uses it to demonstrate the nature of the scientific enterprise. Both wanted sole control of the best fossils found in the American West and both coveted the attention that came with being the world's foremost paleontologist. Neither was above using political connections, from fellow scientists to the inhabitants of the White House during numerous administrati ons, to further their careers. Jaffe's epic history--covering a search for the bones of the largest animals ever to walk the earth; the trials, tribulations and governmental abuses surrounding the Indian Wars; the transition of science from an avocation to a profession; and the political machinations associated with pork-barrel funding of scientific expeditions--is as engaging as an adventure novel while providing insight into America's Gilded Age. Agent, David Black. (Feb.)

Source Citation
"THE GILDED DINOSAUR: The Fossil War Between E.D. Cope and O.C. Marsh and the Rise of American Science." Publishers Weekly 247.2 (2000): 51. General OneFile. Web. 4 Sept. 2010.
Document URL

Gale Document Number:A58633371

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