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Dinosaurs - Deception & Thunder

 
 
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Valued Member

United States
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Posted 10/29/2012   05:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Michael Patrick to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
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Deception And Thunder

A rather plain envelope cancelled Central City, Nebraska, January 1, 1879 contained a letter from cowboy William Harlow Reed addressed to a college professor Othniel Charles Marsh at Yale College, New Haven, Connecticut. Reed was informing Marsh he will return to Como Bluff, Wyoming and continue to dig for fossils. The previous year was disappointing, yielding mostly few broken fossil bones, the following years would uncover many iconic dinosaurs (e.g.: Allosaurus, Stegosaurus). In a few months W.H.Reed would dig up gigantic bones that O.C.Marsh would describe as an animal so ponderous it would shake the earth as it walked! He named it the Thunder Lizard - Brontosaurus. Marsh named more than 80 dinosaurs, but because of duplicates (like Apatosaurus-Brontosaurus) he ended up with about 33. But! 2 years before a juvenile sauropod was dug up by M.P.Felch (another employee of Marsh) near Central City, Colorado whose tail bones resembled the Jurassic ocean sea monster Mosasaurus and Marsh named it the deceptive lizard - Apatosaurus. Due to priority in nomenclature rules Brontosaurus is officially called Apatosaurus.

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United Kingdom
1355 Posts
Posted 10/29/2012   12:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stampgal to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting! To have the enclosed letter is such a bonus and has added so much to the cover.
I suppose that was some of the early days of fossil science and every discovery was something new and exciting. To name a species, what a position to be in.
Thanks for sharing!
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Canada
4576 Posts
Posted 10/29/2012   1:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bujutsu to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting read alright, and welcome to the forum

For anyone collecting dinosaurs as a topical theme, this cover, along with all the information here would certainly be good collateral material.

Chimo

Bujutsu
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United States
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Posted 11/06/2012   10:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rdm to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Michael - I stumbled upon your Reed/Marsh envelope during a Google search and I'm wondering if it's possible for me to get a decent scan of Reed's letter? I'm working on a story about WH Reed for a science blog I write for, and it would be a great visual and informational addition to the story. Thanks!

Mark Ryan
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1084 Posts
Posted 11/07/2012   7:13 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cynical to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wow! Enthralled that you have share this with us.
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Posted 11/07/2012   7:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add MikeE to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Just a side note, the O.C. Marsh correspondence is well known to collectors of Wyoming and Dakota Territory postal history, as many nice covers exist from that area addresses to him.
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United States
5 Posts
Posted 11/23/2012   10:59 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Michael Patrick to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
rdm & stampgal:
I meant to respond earlier.

I do not have the letter that was enclosed in this envelope; the original is at Yale University. This envelope is one of approximately 10400 that was discarded by Yale University when they needed more room in their library and kept just the correspondence. Scarce territorials, stampless to Germany, and rare Department of the Interior stamped covers were among the envelopes that came into the philatelic market about 1932. I don't know what dealer benefited from the land-fall. I have 50+ covers from the "discards" and 2 that were never in the Yale collection along with numerous associated dino hunters covers. e.g. Edward Drinker Cope
I inferred the contents from information in the biography: _O. C. Marsh: Pioneer in Paleontology_ by Charles Schuchert & Clara Mae LeVene 1940 Yale University Press

Check out a few Marsh examples:
www.mcorriss.com/DOCM.html

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Posted 11/29/2012   11:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rdm to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Michael!
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