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1877 in paleontology

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1877 in paleontology

Paleontology or palaeontology (from Greek: paleo, "ancient"; ontos, "being"; and logos, "knowledge") is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, fossilised feces (coprolites), palynomorphs and chemical residues. Because humans have encountered fossils for millennia, paleontology has a long history both before and after becoming formalized as a science. This article records significant discoveries and events related to paleontology that occurred or were published in the year 1877.


Laelaps trihedrodon, Cope criticizes Dryptosaurus

O. W. Lucas collected the first remains of what would later in the year be named Laelaps trihedrodon from Quarry I of the Saurian Hill at Garden Park, Colorado. Edward Drinker Cope would describe the material later in the year in a short paper titled "On a carnivorous dinosaurian from the Dakota beds of Colorado." The "Dakota beds" he references are actually Morrison Formation strata. Cope claims to have a skeleton of unspecified completeness on which to establish the new species, but only describes a partial dentary which has 5 successional teeth, 2 functional teeth, and one tooth missing from its socket. All of the preceding material has since been lost to science with the exception of 5 broken, partial tooth crowns. From the now missing dentary, Cope infers that the creature is a carnivore and compares its dentition to that belonging to other members of his infamous "Laelaps" genus, L. aquilunguis and L. incrassatus. Cope concludes the paper with a pointed criticism of his rival O. C. Marsh's attempt to rename the Laelaps genus Dryptosaurus because the generic name Laelaps has been used in entomology. Cope claims that since the mite genus Laelaps was a synonym that the name was not truly preoccupied and Marsh's erection of Dryptosaurus has therefore created a new, redundant synonym of Laelaps the dinosaur. However, subsequent researchers have supported Marsh's new name.


  • Apatosaurus specimen found with preserved gastroliths.
  • References

    1877 in paleontology Wikipedia

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