Edward Drinker Cope (1840–1897) was an American paleontologist and
comparative anatomist, as well as a noted herpetologist and
ichthyologist. Born to a wealthy Quaker family, Cope distinguished
himself as a child prodigy interested in science; he published his
first scientific paper at the age of nineteen. Cope had little formal
scientific training, and eschewed a teaching position for field work.
He made regular trips to the American West prospecting in the 1870s and
1880s, often as part of United States Geological Survey teams. A
personal feud between Cope and paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh led
to a period of intense fossil-finding competition now known as the Bone
Wars. Cope's scientific pursuits nearly bankrupted him, but his
contributions helped define the field of American paleontology. He was
a prodigious writer, with 1,400 papers published over his lifetime,
although his rivals would debate the accuracy of his rapidly published
works. Cope discovered, described, and named more than 1,000 vertebrate
species, including hundreds of fishes and dozens of dinosaurs. His
theories on the origin of mammalian molars and "Cope's Law", on the
gradual enlargement of mammalian species, are among his theoretical
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Peninsular War: French forces under Joseph Bonaparte suffered 7,270
casualties while Sir Arthur Wellesley's Anglo-Spanish army had 6,700 at
an inconclusive battle in Talavera, Spain.
Miami, today the principal city and the center of the South Florida
metropolitan area, the seventh largest metro area in the United States,
was incorporated with a population of just over 300.
An earthquake measuring at least 8.2 on the Richter magnitude scale,
one of the deadliest in history, flattened Tangshan, China, killing at
least 240,000 people.
At the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, Australian Ian
Thorpe became the first swimmer to win six gold medals at a single
The Provisional Irish Republican Army announced an end to its armed
campaign to overthrow British rule in Northern Ireland to create a
Wiktionary's word of the day:
bait and switch (n):
1. An unscrupulous and sometimes illegal sales technique, in which an
inexpensive product is advertised to attract prospective customers who
are then told by sales personnel that the inexpensive product is
unavailable or of poor quality and are instead urged to buy a more
2. (by extension) Any similar deceptive behavior, especially in
politics or in romantic relationships
Wikiquote quote of the day:
We do not choose political freedom because it promises us this or that.
We choose it because it makes possible the only dignified form of human
coexistence, the only form in which we can be fully responsible for
ourselves. Whether we realize its possibilities depends on all kinds of
things — and above all on ourselves.
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