Barnum Brown

Barnum Brown

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Barnum Brown





Dinosaurs Named

Ankylosaurus, Corythosaurus, Leptoceratops, Saurolophus

About Barnum Brown

Named after, but not related to, P.T. Barnum (of traveling circus fame), Barnum Brown had a flamboyant personality to match. For much of his long life, Brown was the chief fossil hunter for the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and he participated in a huge number of digs, including one that unearthed the very first Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton in southeastern Montana (Brown, unfortunately, didn't get to name his find; that honor went to museum president Henry Osborn).

Despite the large number of fossil finds to his credit, mostly in Montana and Canada's Alberta province, Brown is remembered more as an energetic, tireless, well-traveled digger than as a published paleontologist (though he did write some influential papers). His techniques seem to have matched his personality: in the early 20th century, his preferred method for finding fossils was to blow up huge tracts of land with dynamite, scour the rubble for bones, and cart the resulting finds back to base camp on horse-drawn carriages.

Befitting his name, Barnum Brown had his share of eccentricities, many of them recounted in a memoir published by his wife, I Married a Dinosaur. For publicity purposes, he insisted on being photographed at his fossil digs wearing an oversized fur coat, and he claimed to work as an "intelligence asset" for the U.S. government during World War I and World War II and as a corporate spy for various oil companies during his trips abroad. He was referred to by his closest friends as "Mr. Bones."

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