Wild Bill and the Dinosaur Hunters

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Nancy can hardly wait for her class visit to the planetarium in this Fancy Nancy He worked periodically as a teamster for the Denver gold rush. He served without distinction in the Kansas regiments of the Union Army, and later on embroidered the story to imply that he had a highly distinguished war record, which we know in fact to have been untrue.

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Still, it is true that, after the war, he showed exceptional gifts as a scout, and his knowledge of the Kansas Plains country made him very useful in the Indian campaigns immediately after the Civil War. General Sheridan promoted him to become chief of scouts of the Fifth Cavalry, in a succession of campaigns in the late s and early s.

In the late s, the first transcontinental railroad was built. Because huge work crews were going out on this job, they needed to be fed, so the Kansas Pacific commissioned William Cody to provide 12 buffalo per day. With a high-powered Springfield rifle, Cody could easily bring down far more than He claimed that he killed 4, buffalo in 18 months of service.

This may well have been true. In the days when Indians on horseback had been shooting at buffaloes, it had taken enormous skill to hunt buffalo. Buffalo hunting meant riding alongside the animal and firing arrows repeatedly into it, until it fell down.

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But with high-powered guns, it became a very routine matter. Cody said he once killed 16 of them in one afternoon, as part of a shooting contest.

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He grew his hair and his moustache very, very long and adopted fringed buckskin jackets. Already in his early 20s, he started cultivating the image of himself as someone extraordinary. George Armstrong Custer General Custer did the same thing. The hair became one of his distinguishing trademarks. Learn more about the construction of the transcontinental railroads. The great break for Buffalo Bill came when he met the journalist Ned Buntline in at an army camp.

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Buntline himself was a Connecticut Yankee. He had become the author of dime novels—cheap books turned out very quickly and full of lurid adventure. Buntline was looking around for a new hero to update the Boone, Crockett, and Carson literary tradition. Lakes reported that he had been hiking in the mountains near the town of Morrison , when he and his friend, H. Beckwith, discovered massive bones embedded in the rock.

Lakes further advised that the bones were "apparently a vertebra and a humerus bone of some gigantic saurian.

Dinosaur Hunting Across America - Time Team - Real Wild Documentary

As Marsh was slow to respond, Lakes also sent a shipment of bones to Cope. Marsh published a description of Lakes' discoveries in the American Journal of Science on July 1, and before Cope could publish his own interpretation of the finds, Lakes wrote to him that the bones should be shipped to Marsh, a severe insult to Cope. A second letter arrived from the west, this time addressed to Cope.

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After receiving more samples from Lucas, Cope concluded the dinosaurs were large herbivores , gleefully noting that the specimen was larger than any other previously described, including Lakes' discovery. Unfortunately for Marsh, he learned from Williston that Lucas was finding the best bones and refused to quit Cope to come work for Marsh. This setback would have dried up Marsh's bone supply from the west, if not for receipt of a third letter. At the time of Lakes' discoveries, the First Transcontinental Railroad was being built through a remote area of Wyoming.

Marsh's letter was from two men identifying themselves as Harlow and Edwards, workers on the Union Pacific Railroad. Their real names were William Harlow Reed b.

Williston, who had just wearily arrived in Kansas after the collapse of the Morrison mine, [35] was quickly dispatched to Como Bluff by Marsh. His former student sent back a message, confirming the large quantities of bones and that it was Cope's men snooping around the area. Marsh also reserved the right to send his own "superintendents" to supervise the digging if needed, and advised the men to try to keep Cope out of the region.

The paleontologist procured Carlin's and Reed's services, but seeds of resentment were sown as the bone hunters felt Marsh had bullied them into the deal. While Marsh's own collectors headed east for the winter, Reed sent carloads of bones by rail to Marsh throughout Marsh described and named dinosaurs such as Stegosaurus , Allosaurus , and Apatosaurus in the December issue of the American Journal of Science. Despite Marsh's precautions against alerting his rival to Como Bluff's rich bone beds, word of the discoveries rapidly spread.

This was at least partly due to Carlin and Reed helping spread the rumors. They leaked information to the Laramie Daily Sentinel , which published an article about the finds in April that exaggerated the price Marsh had paid for the bones, possibly to raise prices and demand for more bones. Cope and Marsh used their personal wealth to fund expeditions each summer, then spent the winter publishing their discoveries.

Small armies of fossil hunters in mule-drawn wagons or on trains were soon sending literally tons of fossils back east. Reed was locked out of the Como train station by Carlin, and was forced to haul the bones down the bluff and crate the specimens on the train platform in the bitter cold. As Reed's Quarry 4 dried up, Marsh ordered Reed to clear out the bone fragments from the other quarries. Reed reported he had destroyed all the remaining bones to keep them away from Cope.

Cope likewise toured his own quarries in August. Although Marsh's men continued to open new quarries and discover more fossils, relations between Lakes and Reed soured, with each offering his resignation in August. Marsh attempted to placate the two by sending each to opposite ends of the quarries, [46] but after being forced to abandon one bone quarry in a freezing blizzard, Lakes submitted his resignation and returned to teaching in Marsh tried separating Kennedy and Reed, and sent Williston's brother Frank to Como in an effort to keep the peace.