Patrons of Paleontology

How Government Support Shaped a Science

by Jane P. Davidson

Published by: Indiana University Press

256 Pages, 7.00 x 10.00 x 0.00 in, 65 b&w illus.

  • Hardcover
  • 9780253025715
  • Published: August 2017


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  • eBook
  • 9780253033581
  • Published: August 2017


In the 19th and early 20th centuries, North American and European governments generously funded the discoveries of such famous paleontologists and geologists as Henry de la Beche, William Buckland, Richard Owen, Thomas Hawkins, Edward Drinker Cope, O. C. Marsh, and Charles W. Gilmore. In Patrons of Paleontology, Jane Davidson explores the motivation behind this rush to fund exploration, arguing that eagerness to discover strategic resources like coal deposits was further fueled by patrons who had a genuine passion for paleontology and the fascinating creatures that were being unearthed. These early decades of government support shaped the way the discipline grew, creating practices and enabling discoveries that continue to affect paleontology today.