(July 28, 1840-April 12, 1897)
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Paleontologist and zoologist
Discovered and named over 1,000 extinct vertebrate species
Why he might be annoying
He wrote that 'the inferior Negro should go back to Africa.'
He suffered a nervous breakdown from overwork (1872).
He prescribed himself morphine and belladonna for his illnesses.
He had a long-running feud with fellow paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh, known as 'the Bone Wars.'
The rush to beat Marsh to print sometimes resulted in sloppy work.
In his most famous error, in reconstructing the pleisaur Elasmosaurus, he placed the skull at the end of the tail instead of the neck. He then tried to hide the mistake by buying up all copies of the journal his article appeared in.
In a final challenge to Marsh, he donated his brain to science, hoping his would be larger than his rival's.
Why he might not be annoying
He published his first scientific paper at age 19.
Zoologist Henry Fowler said he was 'always impressive with his great energy and activity.'
'Copeia,' a leading journal of American hepetology and ichthyology (studies of reptiles and fishes, respectively), was named for him.
His and Marsh's discoveries fueled a massive increase of public interest in dinosaurs.
His personal collection of 13,000 fossils became the nucleus of the American Museum of Natural History's fossil hall.
Marsh never did donate his brain, so Cope presumably won his last challenge by default.
Credit: C. Fishel
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Year In Review:
For 2013, as of last week, Out of 16 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
In 2012, Out of 14 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
In 2011, Out of 9 Votes: 55.56% Annoying
In 2010, Out of 141 Votes: 63.83% Annoying
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