Leidy, Joseph; Cretaceous Reptiles in the United States. Smithsonian Contribution to Knowledge, #192, Washington DC, 1865.

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Leidy, Joseph; Cretaceous Reptiles in the United States. Smithsonian Contribution to Knowledge, #192, Washington DC, 1865. Large quarto, pp. v, 135, 20 plates (five folded), 33 text figures.

The extracted work is complete and in a later soft cover wrap with title cover. The binding is tight and clean, text is very clean with minor spotting to margins of last pages. In very good condition.

Joseph Leidy, (1823-1891) was born in Philadelphia and died in the same city. He was educated as a physician and naturalist and made important contributions throughout his life to the fields of medicine, comparative anatomy, parasitology and paleontology. 

Soon after his appointment as librarian and curator at the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences (1846) he was to become the head of the Board of Curators. Leidy made extensive studies of fossil deposits in the western states. The first of his many works on the subject, “On the Fossil Horse of America” (1847), showed that the horse had lived and become extinct on the North American continent long before the arrival of Columbus. He subsequently proved the prehistoric presence in the western United States of the lion, tiger, camel, and rhinoceros.

Leidy was also the first individual to recognize dinosaur remains in North America. In 1856, Leidy identified some teeth that had been discovered by Ferdinand Hayden in the Nebraska Territory; he named three of the new genera Trachodon, Troodon, and Deinodon, all of which are dinosaurs. Leidy  understood what they were, as he pointed out that Trachodon teeth were similar to those of Iguanodon (the second dinosaur discovered, in England, b Gideon Mantell and Deinodon resembled Megalosaurus, the first dinosaur discovered, described in 1824 by William Buckland.

Two years later, in 1858, the partial remains of a large dinosaur were discovered in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and presented to the Academy. Leidy described the fossils and named the animal Hadrosaurus. He pointed out that, because of its large hind limbs and smaller forelimbs, Hadrosaurus probably moved more like a kangaroo that a lizard. This was the first suggestion that some dinosaurs might not have been quadrupeds, as they had been modeled by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins at Sydenham Park near London a few years before. Leidy published his finds in two volumes of the Proceedings of the Academy.

His study of the extinct reptiles from the Cretaceous formations of the United Staes is an invaluable catalog of localities. Leidy systematically describes fossil reptiles from the Cretaceous of New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, several southern states, the midwest and western states and territories.