In the mid-19th century, paleontologists scrambling for fossils focused more on the prehistoric ancestors of contemporary creatures than on dinosaurs. But after Charles Darwin published his On the Origin of Species in 1859, the theory of evolution became one of the most controversial topics of the time.
When American paleontologist O.C. Marsh identified the Equus parvulus (now Protohippus), many biologists considered the skeleton to be validation of Darwin's theory. In this brief letter from Charles Darwin to O.C. Marsh, Darwin expresses his thanks for Cope's work in the field.
Aug 31 1880
My dear Prof. Marsh
I received some time ago your very kind note of July 28th, and yesterday the magnificent volume. I have looked with renewed admiration at the plates, and will soon read the text. Your work on these old birds on the many fossil animals of N. America has afforded the best support to the theory of evolution, which has appeared within the last 20 years. The general appearance of the copy which you have sent me is worthy of its contents, and I can say nothing stronger than this.
With cordial thanks, believe me yours very sincerely
In the early 1830s, Texas, ruled by Mexico, held 20,000 U.S. settlers and 4,000 Mexican Tejanos, forcing residents to pick sides.
Today one of the most-recognized figures in American literary history, poet Walt Whitman was denounced by critics in his own time.
The Chiricahua Apache medicine man and warrior who refused to accept white man's 'civilization.' Part of The Wild West collection.
A central figure in the narrative of how the west was won, Wyatt Earp and his story became an American legend. Part of the Wild West collection.
It was the largest fire in American history: by the time it was all over, more than three million acres had burned and at least 78 firefighters were dead.
The boy behind the myth, who in just a few short years transformed himself from a skinny orphan to the most feared man in the West and an enduring icon. Part of The Wild West collection.
High on a granite cliff in South Dakota's Black Hills tower the huge carved faces of four American presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
Originally settled as a mail stop, Las Vegas changed from an Old West vacation town, to a mafia haven, to the "Atomic City" and "Sin City."