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Dinosaur and Fossil Hunters III

There are some paleontologists that have a few named creatures under their belt, while others have given thousands of fossils their proper name. In this article, you will encounter one man who has given names to more than 1,000 species of prehistoric creatures.

Edwin Colbert

Edwin Harris Colbert (1905 – 2001) is a paleontologist who concentrates on studying the vertebrates of specimens. He also named the Staurikosaurus (a meat eater that walked on two feet) and Scutellosaurus (which translates into ‘little shell lizard’). While in Antarctica, Colbert discovered a Lystrosaurus , the four-legged dinosaur known as the “shovel lizard” that roamed the Earth during the early Triassic period. With this find, the continental drift theory was finally solidified. While at the Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, Colbert uncovered large dinosaur bone beds in 1947.

Other contributions that Colbert made to the knowledge of dinosaurs includes research on the thick skulls of the Pachycephalosaur (suggesting that their heads were used as a battering ram), as well as books and papers written on paleontology and dinosaurs, including ‘Evolution of the Vertebrates’ (written in 1955). In 1998, the paleontologist had a dinosaur named after him , the Nedcolbertia , a small, meat-eating dinosaur that lived during the early Cretaceous period.

Edward Drinker Cope

A prolific namer of fossil animals, Edward Drinker Cope (1840 – 1897) was an American paleontologist who gave names to more than 1,000 species of prehistoric creatures. Cope believed that organisms within a population evolve to become more massive as time passes. While the species becomes more fit, it also leaves it open to becoming more extinct. Some of the dinosaurs that Cope named include the:

Agathaumas (‘great runner’) , which looked much like a Triceratops

Monoclonius {‘one-horned’) , this large, early ceratopsian had a rather large head that it held close to the ground

Camarasaurus (‘chambered lizard’) , huge herbivore with a long neck and long tail

Georges Cuvier

Baron Georges Cuvier (1769 – 1832) was a vertebrate zoologist from France who made significant changes in the way biologists classifies animals. His approach focused on comparative anatomy. Cuvier spent his time studying fossils and founded the science of paleontology. Cuvier believed that a catastrophic event caused regional extinction, but he also believed there was a such think as fixed species rather than a species that evolved. The naming of numerous taxonomic groups of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish fell on the shoulders of Cuvier. He also named the phylum Mollusca in 1798 and other classes and genera.

Earl Douglass

Earl Douglass (1862 – 1931) was a fossil hunter from the United States who founded the Carnegie Quarry (now called the Dinosaur National Monument in Utah) in 1909. The Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania benefited greatly from Douglass’ hard work , he sent nearly 350 tons of fossil specimens to the museum, which included the Allosaurus (the large meat-eating dinosaur called the ‘different lizard’), Apatosaurus (‘the deceptive lizard’ also known as the Brontosaurus), Diplodocus (‘doubled-beamed’), and the Stegosaurus (the dinosaur with bony plates along his back and a spiked tail).