Marsh, Othniel Charles, 1831–99, American paleontologist, b. Lockport, N.Y., grad. Yale, 1860. He studied abroad, and from 1866 served at Yale as the first professor of paleontology and as curator of the Peabody Museum. From 1882 he was also connected with the U.S. Geological Survey. He made many expeditions to the West, especially to the Rocky Mt. regions, and gathered a large collection of fossil vertebrates, now at Yale and in the Smithsonian. Among his discoveries were Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, and other dinosaurs, Cretaceous toothed birds, swimming and flying reptiles, and the fossil ancestors of the horse. His rivalry with E. D. Cope over acquiring and identifying fossil remains was bitter, at times unscrupulous, and ultimately notorious. Marsh's writings are chiefly included in the monographs and reports of the Geological Survey.
See biography by C. Schuchert and C. M. LeVene (1940); studies by U. Lanham (1973), D. R. Wallace (1999), and M. Jaffe (2000).