1869 Cope laelaps elasmosaurus mistake

1869 Cope laelaps elasmosaurus mistake

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Laelaps (Dryptosaurus) confronting Elasmosaurus with Hadrosaurus foraging in the background. From Edwin Drinker Cope "The fossil reptiles of New Jersey" in "American Naturalist" vol 3 (1869) pp 84-91. This reconstruction follows Cope's skeletal reconstructions in placing the head of the Elasmosaurus marine reptile on the wrong end of its body (the 'short' end). This was pointed out by Othniel Marsh - prompting Cope to try and buy up all the mistaken plates to destroy. Marsh kept some of the plates himself, and the incident started a lifelong feud between these two pivotal North American palaeontologists which became the famous "bone wars". The plate is also the first reconstruction of a north american predatory dinosaur - Laelaps aquilungius - which was found in 1866 in Barnesbro New Jersey. Cope was pleased to find a predator for Leidy's Hadrosaur and correctly shows the bipedal stance.

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Keywords: american, aquilungius, bone wars, cope, dinsoaur, discovery, drinker, dryptosaurus, edward drinker cope, edwin, elasmosaurus, error, feud, first, hadrosaurus, laelaps, lealaps, leidy, marsh, mistake, north, othniel, plesiosaur, predator, reconstruction

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