What Happened to Professor Cope?

Ever independent-minded, Edward Drinker Cope was a medical school dropout who pursued his own course at the Academy of Natural Sciences and went on to publish some 600 articles and books in his fields (that's plural) of geology, mineralogy and zoology and comparative anatomy--all of which he taught here from 1889 to 1897. He was part of a vigorous Penn-based explosion of knowledge about the physical world and the human form, noted for his studies of fossils from Frederick Hayden's famous survey in Wyoming, and for his head-on scientific collisions with his one-time mentor in biology, Joseph Leidy.

When he died in 1897, Cope was immortalized in bronze by Eugene Costello, and his bust wound up on a pedestal in Leidy Labs. And there he stayed--until the end of October this year.

Whoever removed the bust did so carefully and without haste, according to Detective Bill Danks--taking even the nameplate, so that when staff first noticed the empty pedestal they thought he had simply been moved a new location in the building. But Edward Drinker Cope is truly missing. Anyone with any information about his whereabouts can call Detective Danks at 898-4485. Or, as the detective suggests: "Just put him back on his pedestal." The Department of Biology misses him.

Photo courtesy of University Archives


Volume 43 Number 14
December 3, 1996

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