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Dinosaur and Fossil Hunters V

When it comes to one of the first dinosaurs discovered in the United States, paleontologist Joseph Leidy played a significant role in the public learning more about the beast. In this article, you will learn what other paleontologist Leidy worked with to name, describe and assemble the first dinosaur skeleton ever mounted in the United States.

Joseph Leidy

Joseph Leidy (1823 – 1891) was an American anatomist and paleontologist who named the first dinosaurs uncovered in the United States. He is responsible for excavating the first dinosaur skeleton in America that went beyond a collection of teeth. It was named the Hadrosaurus, and was initially found in 1858. The Hadrosaurus went on to become the first dinosaur skeleton ever mounted in 1868.It is also considered the first known duck-billed dinosaur.

Paleontologist William Parker Foulke contacted Leidy after he came across the first couple of bones of the specimen that would later be named the Hadrosaurus. Together, they found a nearly complete set of limbs , along with a pelvis, several parts of the feet, and 28 vertebrae. 18 bones came from the tail of the dinosaur. They also uncovered eight teeth and two small parts of the jaw. While the two scientists studied the fossils together, but it was Leidy who formally described and named the creature Hadrosaurus foulkii , to honor his collaborator in this project..

Leidy also named other dinosaurs, such as the Deinodon (‘terrible tooth’), which was a meat-eating dinosaur that lived during the late Cretaceous period; and the Troodon (translates into ‘wounding tooth’) , a dinosaur that could have very well been the smartest dinosaur because it had the largest brain in proportion to its body weight. It could have been as smart as the modern bird.

Other accomplishment of Leidy included the identification of numerous extinct species of camels, horses, sloths, tigers, and rhinoceroses. He was the first to make such observations.

R.S. Lull

Richard Swann Lull (1867 – 1957) was a paleontologist specializing in vertebrate, who was head of the Peabody Museum at Yale , a position he held from 1922 to 1936. Lull was quite found of the museum and said that the best fossils were stored in the basement. He named a couple of dinosaurs, including the Proceratops, a plant-eating dinosaur that lived on the earth before the Cerotops , hence the ‘Pro’ in its name.

William Winkley

The first Pachycephalosaurus (‘thick headed lizard’) fossil was discovered by William Winkley (1900 – 1976) In 1938 while he was herding cattle on his family ranch outside of Ekalaka, Montana. He also uncovered a Troodon skull on his ranch. The Pachycephalosaurus was a dome-headed creature. Inside of the large huge head was a tiny brain that was shielded by an extremely thick skull.