Edward Drinker Cope

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cope, Edward Drinker


Born July 28, 1840, in Philadelphia, Pa.; died there Apr. 12, 1897. American paleontologist and zoologist. Member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (1872).

Cope was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania from 1886. Beginning in 1895 he was also president of the American Society of Naturalists. His principal works were on the fossil vertebrates of the Cretaceous and Cenozoic deposits of North America (he described about 1,000 new species). He differentiated the order Stegocephalia among extinct amphibians, devised a new classification of modern and fossil fish, and reexamined the taxonomic position of many mammals. Cope was one of the founders of neo-Lamarckianism in American paleontology. He admitted the possibility of inheriting characteristics acquired as a result of the use or nonuse of organs (kinetogenesis) and as a result of the effect of the external environment (physio-genesis); he also accepted the influence of the vitalist principle —“a special form of energy,” “growth forces,” or bathmism.


Borisiak, A. A. Iz istoriipaleontologii (Ideia evoliutsii ). Leningrad, 1926. Davitashvili, L. Sh. Razvitie idei i metodov ν paleontologii posle Darvina. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940. Chapter 14.
Istoriia evoliutsionnykh uchenii ν biologii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.