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Othniel Charles Marsh

Born October 29, 1831(1831-10-29)
Lockport, New York, USA
Died March 18, 1899 (aged 67)
New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Nationality United States
Institutions Yale University
Alma mater Yale College
University of Heidelberg
Harvard University

Othniel Charles Marsh (October 29, 1831 – March 18, 1899) was one of the pre-eminent paleontologists of the 19th century, who discovered and named many fossils found in the American West.

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Biography

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Early life

Marsh was born in Lockport, New York, in the United States into a family of modest means. However, he was the nephew of the very wealthy banker and philanthropist, George Peabody. He graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover in 1856 and Yale College in 1860,[1] and studied geology and mineralogy in the Sheffield Scientific School, New Haven, and afterwards paleontology and anatomy in Berlin, Heidelberg and Breslau. He returned to the United States in 1866 and was appointed professor of vertebrate paleontology at Yale University. He persuaded his uncle George Peabody to establish the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale.

Career

Marsh and his many fossil hunters were able to uncover about 500 new species of fossil animals, which were all named later by Marsh himself. In May 1871, Marsh uncovered the first pterosaur fossils found in America. He also found early horses, flying reptiles, the Cretaceous and Jurassic dinosaurs; Apatosaurus and Allosaurus, and described the toothed birds of the Cretaceous; Ichthyornis and Hesperornis.

Othniel Marsh (center, back row) and assistants ready for digging.

Marsh named the following dinosaur genera: Allosaurus (1877), Ammosaurus (1890), Anchisaurus (1885), Apatosaurus (1877), Atlantosaurus (1877), Barosaurus (1890), Camptosaurus (1885), Ceratops (1888), Ceratosaurus (1884), Claosaurus (1890), Coelurus (1879), Creosaurus (1878), Diplodocus (1878), Diracodon (1881), Dryosaurus (1894), Dryptosaurus (1877), Labrosaurus (1896), Laosaurus (1878), Nanosaurus (1877), Nodosaurus (1889), Ornithomimus (1890), Pleurocoelus (1891), Priconodon (1888), Stegosaurus (1877), Torosaurus (1891), Triceratops (1889), Tripriodon (1889). He named the suborders Ceratopsia (1890), Ceratosauria (1884), Ornithopoda (1881), Stegosauria (1877), and Theropoda. He also named the families Allosauridae (1878), Anchisauridae (1885), Camptosauridae (1885), Ceratopsidae (1890), Ceratosauridae, Coeluridae, Diplodocidae (1884), Dryptosauridae (1890), Nodosauridae (1890), Ornithomimidae (1890), Plateosauridae (1895), and Stegosauridae (1880). He also named many individual species of dinosaurs. The dinosaur Othnielia was named in 1977 by P. Galton as a tribute to Marsh, as was Marshosaurus bicentesmus (Madsen, 1976).[2]

Marsh is also known for the so-called Bone Wars waged against Edward Drinker Cope. The two men were fiercely competitive, discovering and documenting more than 120 new species of dinosaur between them. Marsh eventually won the Bone Wars by finding 80 new species of dinosaur, while Cope only found 56.

Marsh died in 1899 and was interred at the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut.

Citations

References

The Scientific Contributions of Othniel Charles Marsh: Birds, Bones, and Brontotheres (Peabody Museum of Natural History Special Publication No 15) (Paperback) by Mark J. McCarren

External links

Wikisource-logo.svg "Marsh, Othniel Charles". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.  


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

(29.X.1831 - 18.III.1899)

American zoologist and palaeontologist.

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