THE BONE WARS the battle to be the most famous dinosaur hunter in the world

The Bone Wars
The Bone Wars
By Nicky Dee, dinosaur expert and author of The Bone Wars.

The Bone Wars of the late 1800s is when the search for dinosaurs really began to get exciting.

In America, two men lead the hunt. Cope and Marsh started out as close friends but their palaeontological obsession drove them apart. Greed lead them to engage in some pretty sneaky tactics, such as spying, fakery and bribery, as each tried to beat the other to the next big dinosaur discovery.

Ultimately, these two men changed the face of American science forever.

Here are a few facts you may not know about dinosaurs and the infamous American Bone Wars:

1. The word dinosaur means ‘terrible lizard’. And the very first one was discovered in England, in a quarry near Oxford.

2. It was the realisation by an English Professor, Richard Owen, in 1842, that these huge bones belonged to a new type of animal, that changed the way people thought about life on Earth, FOREVER!

3. This excitement soon spread across the Atlantic to America and this is where Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope got caught up in the frenzied search for more larger-than-life creatures.

4. At the beginning of the Bone Wars (1860’s) a handful of dinosaurs had been discovered, by the end (1890’s) over 144 had been named (although a few have been discounted since).

5. To date, over 1,400 dinosaurs have been discovered worldwide – who knows how many more are waiting to be discovered - and who will discover them?

6. Charles Knight was a famous sculptor and artist and worked with Cope to create the very first clay model of a Stegosaurus, literally putting ‘flesh on the bones’ of the dinosaur. This model helped people to see what it may have looked like when Stegosaurus walked on Earth.

7. Amongst Marsh’s 80 dinosaur discoveries is the Diplodocus, a well-known long-necked, whip-tailed giant of the Jurassic period. This dinosaur has become one of the most displayed in the world due to the generosity of a Scottish-American steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie, who was so impressed with the fossil he had 11 replicas sent to heads of state around the world.

8. Amongst Cope’s 64 discoveries is Coelophysis. Since Cope’s initial discovery in the 1889, a vast bone bed (a collection of many fossils found in one place) was discovered at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico in 1947 by George Whitaker. It is claimed to be the greatest ever find of a dinosaur from the Triassic Period, in North America.

Nicky Dee is a dedicated dinosaur expert and HUGE fan! Having fallen under the spell of these ever-popular prehistoric creatures, Nicky became so obsessed that she changed her career to write books about dinosaurs full-time. Her desire to give children the most up to date information in a fun and engaging way led to the creation of the series, which spans the 180 million years when dinosaurs ruled the world.

‘The Bone Wars’ by Nicky Dee is a factual book written specifically for children. But it’s not a text book – it reads like an adventure novel and is illustrated throughout with cartoons that help to exemplify the facts of the story.

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