Rollin on the river

The great, long-lived dynasty of fossil collectors was surely the Sternbergs, pere et fifs. Of these, the father, Charles Hazelius (1850-1943 (C.H.)), is perhaps the most highly regarded; yet, between him and his three sons, George F. (1883-1969), Charles M. (1885-1981 (C.M.)), and Levi (1894-1976), much of the last third ofthe nineteenth and the first half ofthe twentieth centuries was occupied with fossil collecting.

C.H., whose life-long piety translated into an interest in natural history and fossils, got his start in 1876, when he attempted to join O. C. Marsh's collecting teams in the west. When that didn't materialize, he turned to E. D. Cope, who sent him $300 and put him to work. Sternberg worked for Cope until 1897 (Cope died while Sternberg was in the field); but, during his long and productive life, C.H. systematically

mined the Pierre Shale in Montana and Wyoming (Upper Cretaceous mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, and ammonites; see Figure 15.9), the Niobrara Chalk in Kansas (Upper Cretaceous marine creatures such as turtles, mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, fish, and even pterosaurs), Tertiary-aged strata ofKansas and Oregon (a variety of mammals), and the Permian ofTexas (recovering the first specimens of the primitive synapsid Dimetrodon (see Figure 4.10) and the temnospondyl Eryops). It was a stunning haul.

But C.H.'s reputation - and those of his sons, who accompanied him on these expeditions - was cemented by his raft-based explorations along the Red Deer River of Alberta, Canada (Figure B14.5.1). He writes matter-of-a-factly in his account ofthis work:

Figure B14.5.1. Charles H. Sternberg (1850-1943), professional dinosaur collector, and his crews floating along the banks of the Red Deer River, Alberta, Canada.

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