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
The contradictory history of a dam that became a statement of American power and prestige.
In 1927, the Mississippi River flooded from New Orleans to Illinois, leaving a million people homeless and leading to a major black migration to the North.
William "Buffalo Bill" Cody's legendary exploits helped create the myth of the American West that still endures today.
The worldwide migration by eager gold-seekers turned California into a land of opportunity and fierce competition.
John Wesley Powell's epic journey into the unknown Grand Canyon was filled with adventure as his team mapped the Colorado River for the first time.
When an earthen dam broke without warning, a small city in Pennsylvania was swept away in a wall of water over 30 feet high.
The journey of Prince Maximilian, German naturalist, and artist Karl Bodmer, who explored the Mississippi River area from 1832-1834.
In 1934, American polar explorer Richard Byrd became the first to experience winter in Antarctica's interior.