The New International Encyclopædia/Marsh, Othniel Charles

MARSH, Othniel Charles (1831-99). An American zoölogist and paleontologist. He was born in Lockport, N. Y., graduated at Yale College, and studied in Germany. Upon his return to the United States he was appointed professor of paleontology and curator of the geological museum at Yale, and held these positions until his death. Professor Marsh accomplished a great amount of valuable scientific work in the discovery and description of new fossil vertebrates from the geological formations of the Western States and Territories. In carrying out his investigations he organized many exploring expeditions at his own expense, and directed others which were equipped by the United States Geological Survey. More than 400 new fossil species of vertebrates were described by Professor Marsh, among them such interesting types as the Dinocerata (huge tapir-like animals), Pterodactyls (flying lizards), and Odontornithes (toothed birds). His discoveries of the fossil ancestors of the horse marked an epoch in evolutionary science and have been frequently employed as an illustration of the principle of evolution. The more extended and general articles by Professor Marsh were incorporated in the Reports and Monographs of the United States Geological Survey. He served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1878, and of the National Academy of Sciences from 1883 to 1895. The Geological Society of London, of which he was a fellow, bestowed upon him the first Bigsby medal in 1877. He also received the Cuvier prize of the French Academy of Sciences. His valuable collection of fossil vertebrates was left to Yale University.