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The Bone Hunters: The Heroic Age of Paleontology in the American West Paperback – October 27, 2011
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Professional Rivalry gone wild!
If you are expecting to learn about digs and dinosaurs, you may be surprised by this book. Although this is a good history of American digs and findings, the author focuses more on the paleontologists and explorers than on the prehistoric things they found.
If you thrive on stories about business psychology, office politics, and cranky Victorian-era paleontologists, this may be your cup of tea. The search for fossils and dinosaur bones led Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh west to dig the prehistoric bone beds of Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Their contributions to science and the field of paleontology were massive, and laid the groundwork for modern studies and superb museum and academic collections.
This is not an adventure story. It is the story of the network of Gilded-Age paleontologists, with an emphasis on the rivalry between Cope (of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia) and Marsh (of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale).
The book may inspire you to look for the the serious-minded A&E documentary, "Dinosaur Wars," on the same topic.
"Bone Hunters" a very thorough and readable book. I will incorporate some of this material into my Westward Expansion/Gilded Age lesson plans for HIS 112. What could be better than throwing dinosaurs into the mix?!