The Father of Dinosaur-Mania

Baron Franz Nopcsa von Felső-Szilvás (1877-1933) was a self-taught aristocrat considered to be the father of paleobiology. After his sister found a dinosaur skull in the backyard of their estate in Transylvania he started obsessively studying paleontology from his library.

Nopcsa became one of the first to use dinosaur fossils to speculate upon the musculature and social habits of the species. He was also the first to propose that birds evolved from dinosaurs and he came up with what is now called the “island rule.” This rule explains the small sizes of predatory animals on islands, compared with their non-island counterparts. In addition to his contributions to paleobiology, Nopcsa contributed heavily to the field of geology and created the field of Albanian studies. Unfortunately, he suffered from an undetermined mental illness, lost all his lands and possessions after WWI, and started struggling to fund his studies. In 1933, at the age of 55, he killed both himself and the man presumed to be his lover and quickly faded into obscurity.



We are not responsible for the contents of external links. Full disclaimer can be found here.


Information sources:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/history-forgot-rogue-aristocrat-discovered-dinosaurs-died-penniless-180959504/

Photo Credits / Sources:

By Albanian222 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Related Posts

  • On April 10, 1815 the largest recent volcanic eruption took place in Indonesia. Mount Tambora…

  • Evangelos Zappas (1800-1865) was an extremely wealthy Greek businessman, who had the vision of re-creating…

  • As he was running for the presidency in 1860, Abraham Lincoln received some sage advice…