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This is a dual biography, a superb exercise in character analysis, an absorbing history of palaeontology and a remarkably frank discussion of the changeless techniques of feuding in professional circles. Although each would hate it, the stories of Othniel Marsh and Edward Cope are forever bound together. All that either wanted was supremacy in a field ew can think of as competitive. They were America's foremost paleontologists in the last half of the 19th century. It was the era of first finds in the storehouse of fossil remains being discovered in the mid- and far-West. Each man threw a mighty intelligence as well as a personal fortune into the quest for pre-historic bones. The ideal of scientists unselfishly happy for new breakthroughs in their field totters and falls before this record of two men racing each other for dinosaurean drumsticks. From their early days forward, the author presents his subjects as studies in contrast: Marsh, the late blooming student against Cope, the precocious; Marsh, the rich and well-placed against Cope the poorer free lance. The cordial correspondence of their youth gradually hardened into personal vindictiveness and a pettiness that burst from professional gossip into public headlines. All the while, each was establishing evidence for evolutionary theory. The result -- only that they share the honors in the history of American naturalists instead of one totally overshadowing the other. There is no reason why this carefully prepared, well written book should not reach adult, as well as younger readers.

Publisher: McKay