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The Legacy of the Mastodon: The Golden Age of Fossils in America
     

The Legacy of the Mastodon: The Golden Age of Fossils in America

by Keith Stewart Thomson
 

ISBN-10: 0300151292

ISBN-13: 9780300151299

Pub. Date: 04/28/2009

Publisher: Yale University Press

The uncovering in the mid-1700s of fossilized mastodon bones and teeth at Big Bone Lick, Kentucky, signaled the beginning of a great American adventure. The West was opening up and unexplored lands beckoned. Unimagined paleontological treasures awaited discovery: strange horned mammals, birds with teeth, flying reptiles, gigantic fish, diminutive ancestors of

Overview

The uncovering in the mid-1700s of fossilized mastodon bones and teeth at Big Bone Lick, Kentucky, signaled the beginning of a great American adventure. The West was opening up and unexplored lands beckoned. Unimagined paleontological treasures awaited discovery: strange horned mammals, birds with teeth, flying reptiles, gigantic fish, diminutive ancestors of horses and camels, and more than a hundred different kinds of dinosaurs. This exciting book tells the story of the grandest period of fossil discovery in American history, the years from 1750 to 1890.
 
The volume begins with Thomas Jefferson, whose keen interest in the American mastodon led him to champion the study of fossil vertebrates. The book continues with vivid descriptions of the actual work of prospecting for fossils—a pick in one hand, a rifle in the other—and enthralling portraits of Joseph Leidy, Ferdinand Hayden, Edward Cope, and Othniel Marsh among other major figures in the development of the science of paleontology. Shedding new light on these scientists’ feuds and rivalries, on the connections between fossil studies in Europe and America, and on paleontology’s contributions to America’s developing national identity, The Legacy of the Mastodon is itself a fabulous discovery for every reader to treasure.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300151299
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
04/28/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
424
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Tables ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Part 1 The Jeffersonians

One Fossil Hunters on the Frontier 3

Two Big Bone Lick 10

Three Franklin, Jefferson, and the Incognitum 24

Four Jefferson's "Great-Claw" and a World About to Change 34

Five The First American Dinosaurs: An Eighteenth-Century Mystery Story 41

Six Fossils and Show Business: Mr. Peale's Mastodon 46

Part 2 Fossils and Geology

Seven Fossils and Extinction: Dangerous Ideas 57

Eight Mary Anning's World 72

Nine An American Natural Science 86

Ten An American Geology 98

Eleven Bad Lands: No Time for Ideas 105

Twelve Dr. Leidy's Dinosaur 122

Thirteen Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden 126

Part 3 Giant Saurians and Horned Mammals

Fourteen Kansas and a New Regime 147

Fifteen Entry of the Gladiators 155

Sixteen Riding the Rails 168

Seventeen The First Yale College Expedition 177

Eighteen The Competition Begins 191

Nineteen Buffalo Land: Who Was Professor Paleozoic? 200

Twenty 1872: The Year of Conflict 211

Twenty-One The Case of the Great Horned Mammals 229

Twenty-Two Going Separate Ways 242

Twenty-Three Two into Four Won't Go 254

Twenty-Four To the Black Hills 263

Twenty-Five To the Judith River 271

Part 4 Toward the Twentieth Century

Twenty-Six The Rise of Dinosaurs 279

Twenty-Seven The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 295

Twenty-Eight Going Public 310

Twenty-Nine 1890: The End of the Beginning 317

Appendixes

The Geological Column 335

Leidy on Evolution 338

Cope on Evolution 341

Notes 345

Index 371

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