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|The Bone Wars were an
infamous period in the history of paleontology when the two pre-eminent paleontologists of the time, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel
Charles Marsh, were competing to see who could find the most, and most
sensational, new species of dinosaur. This competition was marred by
bribery, politics, violations of American Indian territories, and
virulent personal attacks. Every once in awhile a dig turns up stones that are dimonds.
This is a financial win for all and the money earned is usually thrown back into the researchers dig.
By most standards, Marsh won the Bone Wars.
Both made finds of incredible scientific value, but while Marsh
discovered a total of 86 new species, due in part to his discovery of
the Como Bluff site, near Medicine Bow, Wyoming (one of the richest
source of fossils known), Cope only discovered 56. Many of the fossils
Cope unearthed were of species that had already been named, or were of
uncertain origin. And while the species Marsh discovered include
household names, like the Triceratops, Allosaurus, Diplodocus, and
Stegosaurus, even Cope's most famous discoveries, like the Dimetrodon,
Camarasaurus, Coelophysis, and Monoclonius were more obscure. But their
cumulative finds defined the field of paleontology; at the start of the
Bone Wars, there were only nine named species of dinosaur in North
America; and some of their theories — like Marsh's argument that birds
are descended from dinosaurs; or "Cope's law", which states that over
time species tend to get larger — are still referred to today.
Cope is widely regard as the more brilliant scientist, but more brash
and careless. He was so prolific, publishing more than 1,200 scientific
papers, that he set a record he still holds to this day. Marsh in turn
was colder, more methodical; but the better politician — he moved easily
among the members of high society, including President Ulysses S. Grant
and the Rothschilds. He even befriended Buffalo Bill Cody and the Lakota
Indian chief Red Cloud.
Their rivalry lasted until Cope's death in 1897, but before the end,
they both ran out of money. Marsh got Cope's federal funding cut off
(including his funding from the U.S. Geological Survey), and Cope had to
sell part of his collection. Marsh in turn had to mortgage his home, and
ask Yale for a salary to live on.
|Tyrannosaurus Rex (ty-RAN-o-sawr-us)
meaning "tyrant lizard" because of its size and large teeth and claws
(Greek tyrannos = tyrant + sauros = lizard), also known colloquially as
T. rex and The King of the Dinosaurs, was a giant carnivorous theropod
dinosaur from the Upper Maastrichtian, the last stage of the Cretaceous
period, 65–66 million years ago.
Its fossil remains are relatively rare; as of 2005 only 30 specimens
had been found, including three complete skulls. The first specimens
found played an important role in the Bone Wars. T. rex is the best
known carnivorous dinosaur, particularly because it was regarded as the
largest to have ever existed for a long time. While evidence indicates
that Giganotosaurus was probably larger, T. rex will very likely remain
a subject of ongoing scientific research and popular culture.
Over 12 m (40 feet) in length, 6 m (20.4 feet) tall and 4 tonnes in
weight, T. rex was one of the largest land carnivores of all time.
Compared to other carnivorous dinosaurs, the skull of Tyrannosaurus is
heavily modified. Many of the bones are fused together, preventing
movement between them. The bones themselves are much more massive than
is typical of a theropod, and the serrated teeth, far from being
bladelike, are massive and oval in cross-section. Heavy wear and the
bite marks found on bones of other dinosaurs indicate that these teeth
could bite into solid bone. The teeth are often worn or broken at the
tips from heavy use but, unlike mammals, were continually grown and shed
throughout the life of the animal. Compared to other giant carnivorous
dinosaurs such as Allosaurus, Tyrannosaurus appears to have had a
sizeable brain, but was probably not particularly intelligent by
The neck was short and musclular, to support the head. The
arms of T. rex were very small, perhaps to make up for the weight of its
enormous head, but were very sturdy. They may have been used for
grasping during mating or as aids in standing. The legs were relatively
long and slender for an animal of its size. To compensate for its
immense bulk, the interior of many bones were hollow. This considerably
reduced the weight of the skeleton while maintaining much of the
strength of the bones.
North America and China/Central Asia in the
times of the tyrannosauids had both familiar and strange elements. The
soft-shelled turtles, crocodiles, pike (Esocidae), and gar (Lepisosteidae)
alive at the time are quite similar to those living today. Frogs and
monitor lizards were other familiar animals. Ferns, palms, and shrubs
were some of the dominant plants; grasses had evolved but were possibly
not yet widespread. Conifers such as sequoias were common.
The North American T. rex probably lived in many different habitats
because of its broad range, but many of the fossil sites in which it is
commonly found appear to have been humid subtropical forests. Birds with
beaks were already around, including waterfowl. Other inhabitants of the
landscape are more unfamiliar. There were birds with teeth, and birds
had by then replaced most of the pterosaurs. Some giant pterosaurs still
thrived, like Pteranodon and Quetzalcoatlus, which had an estimated
wingspan up to 12 m, possibly 18 m.
Herds of Triceratops and duck-billed dinosaurs (hadrosaurs) roamed
the land. Mammals (predominantly multituberculates and marsupials) were
mostly small, shrew- to rat-sized nocturnal animals. There were some
mammals up to the size of a medium modern dog, as shown by recent
fossils in China. Such mammals presumably lived in swamps or very heavy
vegetation for cover as they could not run fast. Primitive primates may
have been around (this issue is open to debate). Snakes had evolved by
this time, very similar to some snakes today.
|Prehistoric life is
a term used to refer to diverse organisms that inhabited Earth from the
origin of life about 3.5 billion years ago to the time when humans began
to keep written records, about 3500 BC. During the course of evolution,
new forms of life developed and many other forms, such as the dinosaurs,
Prehistoric life evolved over this vast timespan from simple
bacteria-like cells in the oceans to algae and protozoans and complex
multicellular forms such as worms, molluscs, crustaceans, fish, insects,
land plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. On a geological
timescale humans evolved very recently, about 4 million years ago at the
earliest, although the exact dating is a matter of some debate.
A few forms of prehistoric life like some plants and notable animals
such as the coelacanth are ancient life forms and still exist today,
making them living fossils. Others, like sharks, have changed little
over eons. For most forms of prehistorical life that became extinct, the
only record of them ever existing that remain today are fossils or rock
See individual entries for the following groupings of prehistoric
- Prehistoric amphibians
- Prehistoric birds
- Prehistoric fish
- Prehistoric insects
- Prehistoric primates
- Prehistoric plants
- Prehistoric reptiles
The mammals are the class of
vertebrate animals characterized by the presence of mammary glands,
which in females produce milk for the nourishment of young; the presence
of hair or fur; and which have endothermic or "warm-blooded" bodies.
brain regulates endothermic and circulatory systems, including a
four-chambered heart. Mammals encompass some 5500 species, distributed
in about 1200 genera, 152 families and up to 46 orders, though this
varies depending on the classification scheme adopted.
Phylogenetically, Mammalia is defined as all of the descendants of the
last common ancestor of monotremes (e.g., echidnas) and therian mammals
(marsupials and placentals), including humans.
A Lake is a body of water
surrounded by land. The majority of lakes are fresh water, and most lie
in the northern hemisphere at higher latitudes. Large lakes are
sometimes referred to as "inland seas" and small seas are sometimes
referred to as lakes.
The term lake is also used to describe a feature such as Lake Eyre,
which is dry most of the time but becomes filled under seasonal
conditions of heavy rainfall. Many lakes are artificial and are
constructed for hydro-electric power supply, recreation (swimming, wind
surfing,...), water supply, etc.
Finland is known as The Land of the Thousands Lakes (actually there are
187,888 lakes in Finland, 60,000 of them are big ones) and Minnesota is
known as The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes. The Great Lakes of North
America originated in the ice age. Over 60% of the world's lakes are in
Canada; this is because of the deranged drainage system that dominates
An eponym is a person, whether
real or fictitious, whose name has (or is thought to have) given rise to
the name of a particular place, tribe, discovery or other item. An
eponymous person is the same as an eponym. In contemporary English, the
term "eponymous" is often used to mean "self-titled." The word eponym is
often used for the thing titled.
In different cultures, time
periods have often been named after the person who ruled during that
One of the first cases of eponymity occurred in the second millennium
BC, when the Assyrians named each year after a high official (limmu).
In ancient Greece, the eponym archon was the highest magistrate in
Athens. The Archon of Athens had a yearly charge and each year was named
after the elected one (e.g., the year 594 BC was named after Solon).
In Rome, the two annual
consuls, as formal chief magistrates of the Roman republic (never
constitutionally abolished, so still formally the joint heads of
government even under the 'political' reality of empire, both principate
and dominate) gave both their names -regardless whether either one was
reelected- to the year they were in office, this being the formal way of
dating, alongside the 'Ab Urbe Condita' continuous year ordinal
(starting from the mythical date of the founding of Rome), the Greek
Olympiad or even the rather pointless fiscal indiction (yet a tradition
long surviving the Roman empire).
In film, the horror genre is
characterized by the attempt to make the viewer experience dread, fear,
terror, disgust or horror. Its plots often involve the intrusion of an
evil force, event, or personage, sometimes of supernatural origin, into
the mundane world.
Some of the most common elements include vampires, zombies (and other
forms of resurrected corpses), werewolves, ancient curses, ghosts,
demons and/or demonic possession, Satanism, evil children, 'slasher
villains', vicious animals, inanimate objects brought to life by black
magic or twisted science, haunted houses, cannibals, and malicious
extraterrestrials. The serial killer movie is sometimes regarded as part
of the horror genre.
Specific stories and characters, often derived from classic literature,
have also proven popular, and have inspired many sequels, remakes, and
copycats. These include Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man
and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Walt Disney Pictures is a
United States-based movie studio, and is a division of The Walt Disney
Company. It maintains Disney's family-friendly image and generally only
releases G and PG rated films except 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean:
The Curse of the Black Pearl, which were handed a PG-13 rating.
Walt Disney Pictures was established as a Disney division in 1983; prior
to that Disney films were released under the banner of the parent
company, then named Walt Disney Productions.
Cruella De Vil,
Walt Disney Pictures includes Walt Disney Feature Animation and
DisneyToon Studios, and is a part of the Buena Vista Motion Pictures
Commissioner James Gordon,
Marvel Comics, NYSE: MVL (AKA
Marvel Entertainment Group, Marvel Characters, Inc., and Marvel
Enterprises, Inc.) sometimes called by the nickname The House of Ideas,
is an American comic book company.
Its best-known comics
include The Fantastic Four, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk,
Iron Man, Captain America, and X-Men. Since the 1960s, it has been one
of the two largest American comics companies, along with DC Comics.
Marvel Comics was founded by established pulp magazine publisher Martin
Goodman in 1939 as an eventual group of subsidiary companies under the
umbrella name Timely Comics. Its first publication was Marvel Comics #1
(Oct. 1939), featuring the first appearance of Carl Burgos' android
superhero, the Human Torch, and the first generally available appearance
of Bill Everett's mutant anti-hero Namor the Sub-Mariner. The contents
of that sales blockbuster were supplied by an outside packager, Funnies,
Inc., but by the following year Timely had a staff in place.