Hydrarchos harlani, contemporary etching (ca. 1845)

This isn’t so much a blog as a place for me to reflect on the history of paleontology. Don’t expect academic, article-length contributions here. Instead, it’s a place to comment about publications in paleontology, the history of science and things related to either that seem relevant to me.

Also, I intend to use this space as an aggregator, to collect online (and, sometimes, offline) things relating to the history of paleontology.

Why Hydrarchos?

Hydrarchos harlani was a creative amalgam consisting of several skeletal parts originally belonging to the fossil whale Basilosaurus (Zeuglodon). ‘Dr.’ Albert Karl Koch, a German who had emigrated to the United States, handily played into the then current interest in sea snakes, and toured the United States, and later Europe, with his invention in the 1840s. Eventually, the first Hydrarchos was bought by the Prussian royal zoological cabinet in 1848.