Edward Drinker Cope (July 28th, 1840-April 12th, 1897) was an American paleontologist and comparative anatomist. Perhaps best known for his role in the infamous “Bone Wars” which approximately lasted from 1877 to 1892, Cope was responsible for the identification of over one thousand vertebrate species, including many dinosaur genera such as Camarasaurus, Coelophysis and Monoclonius, as well as a wide range of other prehistoric animals such as Dimetrodon and Elasmosaurus.
The “Bone Wars” were the result of an intense rivalry between Cope and fellow paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh, and resulted in a race of sorts to find and describe as many new dinosaur specimens from the Midwest of America as possible. Before the “Great Dinosaur Rush,” Cope and Marsh had developed something of a friendship, but as their very different personalities began to surface their relationship became increasingly strained. These tensions piqued when Marsh supposedly caused Cope much embarrassment after correcting his restoration of Elasmosaurus (explaining that the head had been placed on the wrong end-the tail rather than the neck) and even bribed marl pit operators in New Jersey to send any fossil finds to him rather than Cope. The “war” waged for many years, with many iconic dinosaurs such as Triceratops, Diplodocus and Allosaurus being discovered in the process. Indeed, due to his obsessive rivalry with Marsh, Cope insisted that after his death his brain would be measured by scientists to prove that it was larger than his. Marsh never accepted the challenge, and it is thought that Cope’s skull is still being kept in storage at thIe University of Pennsylvania.