Rare Paleontology Book: Marsh, Othniel C.; Dinocerata, a Monograph of an Extinct Order of Gigantic Mammals. 1884

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Marsh, Othniel C.; Dinocerata, a Monograph of an Extinct Order of Gigantic Mammals. Washington, 1884. Large quarto, large paper printing. pp. xviii, 243, 200 illustrations and 56 plates (some folded or double page), with unpaginated explanation leaves.

The work is complete and in a modern green cloth with the original gilt title portion of the spine preserved. The binding is tight and clean with new end sheets. A very light damp stain to the upper inner gutter of the first three pages. Minor finger smudges to a few page margins, the majority of the text and plates are very clean. In very good condition.


An American vertebrate paleontologist and zoologist, Marsh (1831-1899) spent the majority of his career at Yale. He is noted as a competitive collector of vertebrate fossils, especially dinosaurs and birds and their systematic study. He collected throughout the country especially in the west.
Marsh published at his own expense the above work in an advanced copy, (the smaller size USGS Monograph 10 was published in 1886). This is the special large paper format which was usually presented to dignitaries and friends. The work represents the culmination of his research on the horned ungulates which he named "Dinocerata". The work is rarely seen in the limited large paper printing.
Marsh provides the first thorough summary of the Dinocerata and the descriptions are accompanied by many fine illustrations of fossil specimens depicting skulls, bones, footprints, and complete skeletal restorations. These illustrations would display the type of results that would become the standard in paleontological restorations. The skeletal restorations were largely made possible by Marsh's pioneering of new collection methods, which emphasized careful laboratory exhumation of fossils still in the matrix, versus haphazard field collection of weathered specimens.