STL Science Center

STL Science Center

20 July 2011

Finding Camptosaurus and Article Discussion

Camptosaurus was found in the general manner of fossil finds in the 19th Century. An amateur fossil finder at the time, William Harlow Reed, who would work for Marsh for a decade after, stumbled upon the remains in 1879 and Marsh, this time, rushed in stealthily to name, describe, and claim the fossils from the earth. In 1885 he changed the name from Camptonotus to Camptosaurus because of the aforementioned cricket problem but the name still refers to the animal's bent stature required to keep all four feet on the ground. Another version of the discovery story is lurking about as well and goes like this; "It was first found in Utah, USA by the dinosaur collector Earl Douglass and named by paleontologist Othniel C. Marsh in 1885."

As to the articles from yesterday, the first article detailed the species C. prestwichii from Europe. It is a rather lengthy and in depth piece on the animal including full body sketches, bones in different views and other figures relative to the animal. The depth of the knowledge of the skeleton by Galton and Powell is remarkable and they conveyed their knowledge in a very scientific way. Sometimes scientific writing is dry and coarse, but I think the article, overall, is done very well and is very easily readable.

The second article articulated the standpoint of the introduction of a new species of Camptosaurus from the Morrison Formation of Utah. So far, this article was written in 2008, this species has been recognized as substantially different from C. dispar and has been mentioned here before, that new species being C. aphanoecestes. This article is written very well and minutely details the differences that make C. dispar and C. aphanoecestes different species. It is certainly worth reading to understand how these animals are different species.

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