Gilmore, Charles W. | The Mounted Skeleton of Triceratops Prorsus


    The uncommon offprint of the paper describing the first mounted skeleton of a triceratops, displayed at the US National Museum of Natural History beginning in 1905.

    Palaeontologist Charles W. Gilmore (1874-1975) was hired by the Museum of Natural History (then the United States National Museum) in 1903 to undertake the massive task of cataloguing the fossils excavated by Othniel Charles Marsh over the previous three decades, among them the triceratops described here. During the course of his career he authored more than 170 scientific papers; led sixteen fossil collecting expeditions, primarily in Utah and Wyoming; discovered the first Apatosaurus fossils; and had four different species named in his honour.

    Fossils from more than forty triceratops were part of the Marsh collection, all excavated by J. B. Hatcher from the Laramie division of the Cretaceous in Converse county, Wyoming. The present skeletal mount was produced from the most complete individual, with missing bones replaced by others in the collection, as well as plaster casts. In 1901 the skeleton of this individual was reproduced in papier-maché by F. A. Lucas and exhibited at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, and the great public interest it generated encouraged George P. Merrill, head of geology at the Museum, to make the original skeleton a permanent exhibit. This individual was also used as the reference for Marsh’s reconstruction of the triceratops in his magnum opus, the Dinosaurs of North America (plate LXXI), though differences are apparent between it and the 1905 mount.

  • ...No. 1426–From the Proceedings of the United States National Museum, Vol. XXIX, pages 433-435, with Plates I-II. Washington D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1905.

    3-page offprint. Original olive wrappers printed in black. 2 plates from photographs. A little wear at the ends of the spine and corners, small scratch and puncture at the edge of the spine, the puncture affecting the gutter of the contents with no loss of text or image, the fore-edge of plate I protruding and a little creased and rubbed with some short splits. Very good condition.