Episode 132: Dollop: The Bone Wars

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Dave: He was schooled in the Enlightment style of Genteel Amateurism.

Gareth: Pornography.

Dave: That is correct.

Not porno, paleo. Well, actually, paleo porno. Sexy, sexy bones. That’s why they call it a boner, y’all, duh.

From the media of wiki:

the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene Epoch (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes the study of fossils to determine organisms’ evolution and interactions with each other and their environments (their paleoecology). Paleontological observations have been documented as far back as the 5th century BC. The science became established in the 18th century as a result of Georges Cuvier‘s work on comparative anatomy, and developed rapidly in the 19th century.

“Rapidly”, to say the least, thanks to these chuckleheads. This is a good time to interject: new special tag, started with this episode: academic carpetbombing. I got your “rapidly” right here.

Paleontology lies on the border between biology and geology, but differs from archaeology in that it excludes the study of anatomically modern humans.

That’s the nice way of saying no Captain Caveman. I know, I am disappointed myself.
Let’s sneak him in–don’t tell the peeps in lab coats.

United States Geologic Survey: usgs.govInstagram, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter plus software and Github, maps, multimedia (including webcams). . .

Dinosaurs, facts and fiction
By: Ronald J. Litwin, Robert E. Weems, and Thomas R. Holtz Jr.

and many more, including this one–Metastatic cancer in the Jurassic (” We describe a metastatic cancer in a dinosaur.” Yep.)–at the USGS Publications Warehouse.

So now when your kid gets on a questions tear, and they get to “Did dinosaurs ever get sick?”, you got this one like a champ. You’re welcome.

whew. That’s much more than I expected. Take that, newly-for-profit NatGeo.

National Association for the Advancement of Science: Mayhaps I have done too much writing and research for The Dollop Dot Net, but that name feels spooky shady (no offense, nice scientist people). Given all the places we’ve been together, it feels so…eugenics-y.

But it’s not, at all: official site, mission and history

Doesn’t Joseph Leidy look weary? Bone tired? (you were thinking it, don’t even lie)

Leidy christened his first complete dinosaur find, discovered in 1858, the hadrosaur, which is Latin for “sturdy lizard”. I cannot tell if he had an extremely dry wit, or was exceptionally literal. I am going to assume the former, because I like the image of his snickering to himself in his office, spinning around in his chair and whispering “big sturdy lizard” to himself, while Cope and Marsh incessantly quarreled in the hallways.

Marsh is best known for his role in the Bone Wars–his vicious rivalry with the paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope, which started when Marsh (a bit too bluntly) informed Cope that he had placed the head of an Elasmosaurus skeleton on its tail, rather than its neck. (source)

That’s right; it took us a year, but we got one, a real head-up-his-ass Dollop story. Huzzah!

Othniel C. Marsh biography: at UCBerkley, at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History

Chief Red Cloud at biography.com (1822 Nebraska-1909 South Dakota), Oglala Lakota tribe

Buffalo Bill at biography.com (1846 Iowa-1917 Colorado)

General George Custer at biography.com (1839 Ohio-1876 Montana, educated at West Point)


If you love The Dollop, you love Bill Bryson, y0u just don’t know it yet. Check out his hilarious and fascinating trip to Australia: In a Sunburned Country


Band names from this episode:

  • Terrible Leaper
  • Lush and the Drysaurus
  • ancientbones
  • Kansas Bone Fields (U2 cover band)
  • foolBones
  • Hitting the Boneload
  • Fakeasaurus (first big hit: “Down Dino!”)
  • The BoneKings
  • Bone Vacuum
  • Code Name Jones

Cultural references from this episode:Flinstones brontoburgers

One comment

  1. To the tune of The Brady Bunch theme song:

    “Here’s the story of a man named Leidy who was dealing with two very cranky boys. One of them had all the bones, just like the others…”

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