Handmade pizza cutter: manzanita wood handle carved as life size replica of cretaceous bird-like dinosaur claw. Slate stand. 1892

Lot 1015 Circa 1892

Deaccessioned from the Peabody Museum of Natural History, formerly from the estate of Othniel Charles Marsh, the first professor of Paleontology in the United States. In 1880, Marsh caught the attention of the scientific world with the publication of Odontornithes: A Monograph on Extinct Birds of North America.

One of his most notable finds was of the long-legged, ostrich-like Cretaceous bi-pedal dinosaur subsequently named Struthiomimus. This dinosaur found in the Hell Creek Formation, Montana weighed in at nearly 330 pounds, stood about 4 ½’ tall and was nearly 14’ long. It is the third toe phalanges with claw that is represented in life-size as the handle to Item 1015.

Marsh is also known for the so-called "Bone Wars" waged against Edward Drinker Cope. The two men were fiercely competitive, with Marsh finding 80 new species to the 56 discovered by Cope. Despite their rivalry, Marsh and Cope would often meet in the field and share a convivial pizza while discussing their latest fossil discoveries.

As the winner of this heated academic contest Marsh was presented with a commemorative pizza slicer as a fitting trophy and memento mori of all the dinosaurs that died to further his distinguished career.

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