«»«» 17 APRIL 2012«»«»
by Terrell William "Terry" Proctor, J.D.
2008-10 President of Houston Gem & Mineral Society and Board Chairman &
Curator of the Proctor Museum of Natural Science, Inc. 1989 to present


This presentation is courtesy of the HOUSTON GEM & MINERAL SOCIETY and the PROCTOR MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE, INC. Both are Texas "Not For Profit" corporations. They are also IRS 501c3 organizations

PALEONTOLOGIST, Dinosaur Collectors, Later Friends and then Bitter Enemies


The Bone Wars is a name popularly given to a period of time and the rivalry of Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope as they competed in the discovery and naming of dinosaur fossils. The reason for the name was the intense rivalry between these two PALEONTOLOGIST during an extended period in the 1800s. The bulk of the fossil collecting lasted for ten years and centered on the excavation of fossils at Como Bluff, Wyoming. Each of these Paleo scientists allowed themselves to use underhanded methods to attempt to outdo the other, in first finding and naming new species of dinosaur. They each resorted to bribery and ultimately to the destruction of of some dinosaur bones in their respective drives to be the first to find a new dinosaur and name it.

The Bone Wars of Cope and Marsh was a program presented by me to the Houston Gem & Mineral Society's Paleontology Section on July 22, 2008. You can read the entire 15 page article as it appears on the Proctor Museum of Natural Science website at this link:

The rivalry between Cope and Marsh ultimately resulted in their respective financial ruin in their respective attempts to disgrace each other in the drive to add to each of their own scientific accomplishments. However, their contributions to science and the field of paleontology resulted in a vast increase in the knowledge of dinosaurs. Earth scientists are still cataloguing Cope and Marsh's finds. During the bone wars, between Cope and Marsh, there were over 142 new species of dinosaurs discovered. There were 1,818 species or genera of fossil vertebrates described between them.

The result of the Bone Wars was a huge increase in knowledge of ancient life and especially there was a huge increase in the public's interest in dinosaurs. This in turn led to the continued excavation of not only dinosaur fossils, but many other prehistoric animals in North America since the Bone Wars, which excavation continues today at least as strong as ever. There have been a number of books written about the Bone Wars and there is even a board game.

Some background on the rivalry between Cope and Marsh:

Cope and Marsh met at the University of Berlin as they had a common interest in the study of fossils. Marsh was able to establish himself as a professor at Yale, without teaching duties, primarily because his uncle, George Peabody (February 18, 1795 – November 4, 1869) had made a generous endowment to Yale University. Peabody was an entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded the Peabody Institute at Yale University, then in 1837 moved to London where he lived for the rest of his life. Peabody is the acknowledged father of modern philanthropy, having established the practice later followed by Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates, and some say Johns Hopkins and gave over $8,000,000.00, most of it during his own lifetime. Interestingly enough, in my research I find that he only gave the Peabody Museum of Natural History, at Yale University the sum of $150,000, which was in 1966.
Cope had no college degree but was associated with the Philadelphia Academy. Cope had to rely upon his own personal fortune in his trips to collect fossils, prepare them and compete with Marsh in the Bone Wars. At one time, Cope and Marsh were friends. They went so far in friendship as to name dinosaur species after each other. That is a real friendship. As time went on, however, the rivalry increased, and the Marsh thing of embarrassing Cope on the Elasmosaurus certainly didn't help the relationship between them. It was not all Marsh however, who created the ill will. Cope had a reputation for being feisty and having a short fuse, i.e. a quick temper; Marsh moved more slowly in things, being more methodical and was considered as being an introvert, although he had friends in positions of power. Their personalities and temperaments were quite different, which added to their differences.

Actually the Bone Wars were triggered by the 1858 discovery by William Parker Foulke, in the marl pits of Haddonfield, New Jersey, of what was to become the holotype specimen of Hadrosaurus foulkii. Hadrosaurus are what are more commonly called 'Duck-billed Dinosaurs'. This Hadrosaurus foulkii was the first nearly-complete skeleton of a dinosaur ever found. The find created a great deal of interest in paleontology, which was a new field of science at that time. The Hadrosaurus foulkii skeleton was sent to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Joseph Leidy was perhaps the leading paleontologist of the time, and he named and described this new dinosaur in 1858. You can read more about him on the website along with many other scientists who were dinosaur hunters in the past and present.


UNKNOWN BONE FINDER An unknown person in ENGLAND found the first dinosaur. It was named Megalosaurus, which means "Great Reptile". It was a large meat-eating dinosaur and was known to have been lived around 175 million years ago during the Jurassic period. Part of a bone was recovered from a limestone quarry at Cornwell near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England in 1676. The fragment was sent to Robert Plot, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and first curator of the Ashmolean Museum, who published a description in his Natural History of Oxfordshire in 1676. He correctly identified the bone as the lower extremity of the femur of a large animal and he recognized that it was too large to belong to any known species. He therefore concluded it to be the thigh bone of a giant human, such as those mentioned in the Bible. The bone has since been lost but the illustration is detailed enough to identify it clearly as the femur of a Megalosaurus. It was named by William Buckland in the year 1824. Later in the year 1827 Gideon Mantell assigned the species name Megalosaurus bucklandii to honor Mr. William Buckland.

MARY ANN MANTELL, of England, in 1822, accompanied Gideon Mantell, her country doctor husband on a house call. He was an English physician and interested in geology. While he visited his patient, Mary Ann took a stroll down a country lane. She made a sensational discovery of a fossilized tooth which led to the fossils of an animal resembling a huge crocodile (later identified as an Ichthyosaurus) at Lyme Regis in Dorset, Gideon Mantell discovered the second dinosaur genus to be identified, which was called Iguanodon. Gideon Mantell recognized similarities between his fossils and the bones of modern iguanas. Two years later, the Rev William Buckland, a professor of geology at Oxford University, unearthed more fossilized bones of Megalosaurus which were then described as a dinosaur in a scientific journal.

Dinosaur fossils have been known for millennia, although their true nature was not recognized. The Chinese, whose modern word for dinosaur is konglong (or "terrible dragon"), considered them to be dragon bones and documented them as such. For example, Hua Yang Guo Zhi, a book written by Zhang Qu during the Western Jin Dynasty, reported the discovery of dragon bones at Wucheng in Sichuan Province. Villagers in central China have been digging up dinosaur bones for decades, thinking they were from dragons, to make traditional medicine. In Europe, dinosaur fossils were generally believed to be the remains of giants and other creatures killed by the Great Flood. (this information comes from Wikipedia at

JOSEPH LEIDY (September 9, 1823 – 30 April 1891) Joseph Leidy was a US anatomist/paleontologist and a professor of anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania. He was later also a professor of natural history at Swarthmore College. In 1869 he was the author of a book entitled 'Extinct Fauna of Dakota and Nebraska' which contained a number of species which had not to that time been scientifically described and were not known on the North American continent prior to that time. Leidy named the first dinosaurs found in the U.S.A. He excavated the first American dinosaur, a Hadrosaurus in 1858. Leidy named Antrodemus (1870, perhaps Allosaurus), Aublysodon (1868), Deinodon (1856), Diplotomodon (1868), and the Hadrosaurus (the first nearly-complete dinosaur skeleton and first-known duck-billed dinosaur, 1858), Palaeoscincus (1856), Thespesius (1856), Trachodon (1856), and Troodon (1856). Leidy was also the first scientist to identify many extinct species of camels, horses, sloths, tigers, and rhinoceroses.

ROY CHAPMAN ANDREWS, M.A. (January 26, 1884–March 11, 1960). This was my hero when I was in Junior High School. I remember as a school child reading about Roy Chapman Andrews finding dinosaur bones in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. I was enthralled with such a great find and how wonderful it would be, to be able to some day dig up a dinosaur. However, I never dreamed that some day I would be a dinosaur hunter. Roy Chapman Andrews was a US fossil hunter and director of the American Museum of Natural History. Andrews was told that there were no openings when he first applied for a job at the American Museum of Natural Science, so he took a job there as a janitor in the taxidermy department and began collecting specimens for the museum. During the next few years, he worked and studied simultaneously, earning a Master of Arts degree in mammalogy from Columbia University. In 1909-1910 he sailed to the East Indies collecting snakes and lizards and observing marine mammals. In 1916-1917 he and his wife led the Asiatic Zoological Expedition of the museum through much of western and southern Yunnan, as well as other provinces of China. His picture and other information appears online on the Proctor Museum of Natural Science, Inc. website shown herein.

There are many other PALEONTOLOGIST listed in my article on "The Bone Wars" located on the Proctor Museum of Natural Science, Inc. website at Here are some I have known personally. Some of these are on the Board of Directors of the Proctor Museum of Natural Science, Inc. (designated by an **)

**ROBERT T. BAKKER, PhD (Paleontologist, writer, lecturer, movie consultant) As a school child in the 1940s and 1950s, I read and dreamed about the paleontology trips of Roy Chapman Andrews. Then in 1994 I found some information on a dinosaur dig for under $1,000.00 with an organization called Dinomation. Dinomation was an organization in which Dr. Bakker and Dr. James I. Kirkland were connected. I dug dinosaur bones in the Morrison formation, at the famous Como Bluff, Wyoming location, one of the sites of the 'Bone Wars'. Dr. Bakker has been on the Board of the Proctor Museum of Natural Science for a number of years.

Dr. Bakker with lunch during lecture-Como Bluff Dr. Robert T. Bakker, in usual floppy hat and beard Jurassic Megalosaurus dinosaur drawn by Dr. Bakker Dr. Robert T. Bakker with Dr. Terry Proctor-Wyoming

**PETER LARSON--President of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, Inc. in Hill City, South Dakota (Paleontologist, writer, lecturer)

Photos of Peter Larson and members of HGMS and Proctor Museum
Terry Proctor (front) and Peter Larson (back) discussing prehistoric tortoise Terry Brawner (left) and Peter Larson (right) at Black Hills Laboratory Peter Larson dug and prepared the T-Rex Sue which is in the Chicago Field Museum of Natural Science

Peter Larson is responsible for the recovery of the most perfect Tyranosaurus Rex dinosaur ever recovered to date. It is named "Sue" and is now in the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Many of the dinosaurs which are in the Houston Museum of Natural Science came from Peter Larson and the Black Hills Institute in Hill City, South Dakota. Go see them.

PAUL SERENO, PhD--Paul C. Sereno, PhD. is a Professor of the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago. He was born on October 11, 1957 in Aurora, Illinois. He has a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Northern Illinois University and a Geological Sciences Degree: M.A. Columbia University; M.Phil. Columbia Univ; and PhD Columbia Univ. Dr. Sereno gave a lecture on March 21, 2006 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. At that time, he brought with him a new, extremely interesting dinosaur skull, which he called the 'Darth Vader' dinosaur. When you look at it you can see why. This dinosaur has the largest eye orbits of any known dinosaur. However, the mouth bones are extremely weak and it apparently skimmed algae from the surface of ponds

Terry Proctor, J.D., Proctor Museum Curator (R), Paul Sereno, PhD, Paleontologist and Terry Brawner, 2005/2006 President Proctor Museum. Dr. Sereno is holding the 4th left rear foot metataursal of a Hadrosaurus brought back by the two Terrys in Eastern Montana in 2005 While visiting the Houston Museum of Natural Science on March 21, 2006 , Dr. Sereno brought with him a replica of a new dinosaur find, which he called the 'Darth Vader' dinosaur. We can't imagine why, but here is a photo taken of it by PMNS Curator Terry Proctor.

**PATRICK J. LEWIS, PhD (Associate Professor Paleobiology, writer, lecturer) Patrick J. Lewis is an Assoc. Professor of Paleobiology, in the Dept. of Biological Sciences, at Sam Houston State University. Dr. Lewis has published extensive papers on paleontology. Patrick has been involved in the Fayum, which is an Eocene/Oligocene fossil locality located in the eastern Sahara Desert of Egypt. His involvement with the site began in 1999 and has included five field seasons as part of the expedition team led by Dr. Elwyn Simons of Duke University. In the summer of 2007 he was in the Sahara Desert of Egypt, in which trip they found Aegyptopithecus zeuxis, which is a large monkey-like primate often recovered from the Fayum deposits. It is believed to be the oldest yet known primate. Also found at this location were more species of prehistoric primates, in one place, than anyplace else on Earth. This summer, i.e. 2008, Dr. Lewis has been in Botswana digging in a cave. He has reported to Terry Proctor, Curator of the PMNS that he has found the oldest true elephant and believes to have found the oldest black Rhino.

Dr. Lewis discusses the Botswana Cave project with Dr. Monte Thies (SHSU) and Mr. Gabadirwe (BNM) before entering Bone Cave in the Koanaka Hills Aegyptopithecus zeuxis is a large monkey-like primate often recovered from the Fayum deposits.
Photo courtesy of the Duke Division of Fossil Primates

TERRELL WILLIAM "TERRY" PROCTOR, J.D. Board Chairman and TERRY T. BRAWNER--a Vice-President of the Proctor Museum of Natural Science, Inc. Proctor is President of Houston Gem & Mineral Society and both Proctor and Brawner are former Chairman of the Paleo Section of Houston Gem and Mineral Society.

Terry Proctor digging Hadrosaurus femur near Van Horn, Texas in May, 2010. Temperature was 93 to 103 degrees. Hadrosaurus femur after preparation for display with a model Hadrosaurus to show type of dinosaur.

Some interesting information about Paleontology:

The Earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old. Abbreviations used are BYBP and MYBP which mean Billion Years Before Present and Million Years Before Present.

The first life forms known to exist were from about or shortly before the Cambrian Epoch which was 570 MYBP.

The dinosaurs lived during three epochs: Triassic from 245 MYBP to 208 MYBP; Jurassic 208 MYBP to 144 MYBP; and Cretaceous from 144 MYBP to 66.4 MYBP. At the end of the Cretaceous Epoch, all dinosaurs, except the birds became extinct. Birds are living dinosaurs.

There are fossils almost everywhere, because living things have lived and died for so many million years. Most things which die go back to the Earth, i.e. to dust or mineral. Fossilization occurs only rarely and few things, of those which have lived, became fossils. It is therefore easy to have missing links, but fortunately, as time goes on, more and more missing links of life are found.

To learn how to collect, preserve, prepare for display and protect fossils, there are many, many books. Also you should join a group which takes Field Trips to collect fossils and minerals and has educational classes to learn about minerals, fossils, lapidary and other Earth Science skills and vocations.Both Houston Gem & Mineral Society, Inc. and the Proctor Museum of Natural Science, Inc. can provide this to you.

For more information or to join either Houston Gem & Mineral Society, Inc. or the Proctor Museum of Natural Science, Inc.

Houston Gem & Mineral Society, Inc. 10805 Brooklet at Rockley, Houston, Texas 77099 (281) 530-0942 website:

Proctor Museum of Natural Science, Inc. 630 Uvalde Road, Houston, Texas 77015-3766 (713) 453-8363 website: