352 pages, 7 x 10
97 color illus.
Yale University Press, 2016
The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, now celebrating its 150th anniversary, has for over a century and a half been remaking the way we see the world. Delving into the Museum’s storied and colorful past, award-winning author Richard Conniff introduces a colorful and sometimes combative cast of bold explorers, roughneck bone hunters, and visionary scientists. They are most famous today for wrestling Brontosaurus, Triceratops, and other celebrated dinosaurs from the earth. But they were also pioneers in the introduction of science education in North America and the rise of modern ecology.
In this lively tale of events, achievements, and scandals from throughout the Museum’s history, readers will encounter dozens of intriguing characters—paleontologist O. C. Marsh presides, in ferocious combat with his “Bone Wars” rival Edward Drinker Cope; the world‑circling coral reef and volcano explorer James Dwight Dana; and the paleontologist John Ostrom, creator of the modern dinosaur revolution that inspired “Jurassic Park.”
Nearly 100 color images portray important figures in the Peabody’s history and special objects from the Museum’s 13-million-item collections. collections, among them Benjamin Silliman’s Weston meteorite, which caused grave doubts for President Thomas Jefferson; Marsh’s toothed birds, which Darwin considered the best evidence of evolution discovered in his lifetime; and Ostrom’s fast, ferocious Deinonychus, which led him to shatter the plodding traditional image of dinosaurs.
This book throws open the doors to the Peabody, welcoming curious readers to the abundant delights of the museum’s storied past and present.
Richard Conniff is a prize-winning science writer and journalist, and the author of nine books including The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth. His articles appear frequently in Smithsonian magazine, the New York Times, National Geographic, and other publications. He lives in Old Lyme, CT.