But Dippy’s namesake, Diplodocus carnegii, has a much more complicated and dramatic history than the statue that has become a mascot of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. Author Tom Rea details that history in Bone Wars: The Excavation and Celebrity of Andrew Carnegie's Dinosaur, whose 20th anniversary edition will be released Tue., Sept. 14 from the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Typically, the Bone Wars refers to the larger dinosaur-related dispute between Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, but Rea instead digs into the history of Diplodocus carnegii — the skeleton that the Dippy statue was modeled after — as an entry point into the evolution of scientific thought regarding dinosaurs and the duplicitous deals, greed, and hubris that permeated the early years of bone hunting.
Rea follows five men involved in the discovery and ownership battle over Andrew Carnegie’s long-necked dinosaur: fossil hunter Bill Reed, paleontologists Jacob Wortman and John Bell Hatcher, then-Carnegie Museum director William Holland, and Carnegie himself.
The book will feature a forward by principal dinosaur researcher Matthew C. Lamanna, who is an associate curator and the head of vertebrate paleontology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Rea, a Pittsburgh native who now lives in Casper, Wyoming, will also provide a new afterword.
Rea will also appear in conversation with Lamanna in Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures’ Made Local series Thu., Sept. 23. The virtual event, free with registration, will begin at 6 p.m.