The early paleontologists of


Benjamin Franklin (B.F.) Mudge

Copyright © 2001-2013 by Mike Everhart

Last revised 07/23/2013


 Portrait of Benjamin F. Mudge in the 1870s. Originally published in The American Geologist, Vol. 23, p. 338, 1899. 

In the public domain; obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

B.F. Mudge's photograph also appears in the frontispiece of  the The University Geological Survey of Kansas, Vol. 2

with the following notation by S. W. Williston:

"To the memory of Prof. Benjamin F. Mudge, the first State Geologist of Kansas,

An excellent teacher, a faithful friend, an honest man."

B. F. Mudge was born in Maine in 1817. He grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in 1840. He worked as a lawyer in Massachusetts for 16 years. In 1861, he moved to Kansas to teach. During the Civil War, he helped runaway slaves. He became State Geologist of Kansas in 1864 and then took a job teaching at the Kansas State Agricultural College (later Kansas State University) in 1865. Mudge published the first book on the geology of Kansas in 1866, and was the first president of the Kansas Academy of Science (KAS). He collected the first bird with teeth (Ichthyornis) ever found in America in 1872 (while he was still teaching at the KSAC, and before he began working for Marsh).

Marsh at first identified the bird jaws as those of a lizard, and only later as a bird.  Mudge collected Pennsylvanian vertebrate footprints and the nearly complete jaw of a shark in Osage Co. in 1873. After losing the KSAC job, he led collecting trips for Marsh in the Kansas chalk from 1874 to 1876. He named the Fort Hays Limestone in 1876. He spent the last three years of his life collecting for Marsh, among other places in the dinosaur beds of Colorado, collecting some of the first reported Jurassic dinosaurs of the West.   (Manning, pers. comm. 2001)

* * *

B.F. Mudge was one of the first paleontologists in Kansas and began his collecting several years before Marsh and Cope came to the state. His contemporaries in Kansas included three Army surgeons: Dr. Theophilus Hunt Turner (1841-1869), assigned to Fort Wallace, KS.; Dr. John H. Janeway at Fort Hays; and Dr. George Miller Sternberg (1838-1915) at Fort Harker, near Ellsworth, Kansas, and later at Fort Hays.   Professor Mudge was the first State geologist of Kansas and taught at The Kansas Agricultural College (KSAC, now Kansas State University) through 1873. After losing his teaching job over a dispute with the administration, he then began collecting fossils for O. C. Marsh and Yale College. His discoveries include the first toothed bird (Ichthyornis dispar), several species of mosasaurs, and other important specimens that are now in major museums in the United States, including a least 303 specimens in the Yale Peabody Museum collection.

Mudge (1866) was probably the first to note and publish the presence of exogenous (deciduous) leaves in the Dakota Sandstone, although at the time he was unsure of their age or geological provenance.  Although he thought the Dakota might be Triassic in age, it was soon determined to be Late Cretaceous.  John LeConte ( 1825-1883) described the geography/geology of Kansas in his report on the 1867 survey for the Union Pacific Railroad and noted a bed of rocks [the Dakota Sandstone] that "continue to Fort Harker, where the sandstone becomes less ferruginous, of a reddish and pale yellow color, and contains leaves of trees of exogenous growth" [trees that grow annual rings].  He also indicated that a collection had been made in November of 1866 and sent to Leo Lesquereux (1806-1899) for examination, possibly by Dr. George M. Sternberg, the surgeon at Fort Harker. In a footnote (p. 7), LeConte indicates that "Professor Mudge, of the Kansas Geological Survey, has procured specimens from the same locality." 

Lesquereux credited B. F. Mudge for a collection of leaf fossils from the Dakota Formation that he examined in the Smithsonian Museum for his 1868 publication (On some Cretaceous fossil plants from  Nebraska). The fossil leaves were actually collected by Mudge from north and east of Fort Harker in Kansas, not from near "Fort Ellsworth in Nebraska".  They are mentioned again in the first paragraph on page 266 of Hayden's (1873) Report of the United States Geological Survey of the Territories; "Species of sweet-gum, poplar, willow, birch, beech, oak, sassafras, tulip-tree, magnolia, maple and others have been described from the fossils." Mudge wrote about these fossil leaves in several of his publications (see below).

Peterson (1987; pp. 228) indicates that B. F. Mudge was the "most active" of the early fossil collectors in Kansas.  In 1865, Mudge collected fossil footprints from an area 50 miles north and west of Junction City, Kansas.  The following year, he went further west to the area around Ellsworth (near Fort Harker) and near the fork of the Solomon River to the north to collect invertebrates and plant fossils. Peterson (ibid.; p. 228-229) said that "Only Mudge is known to have done much fossil collecting in 1869, and he did not venture very far into western Kansas. During the summer he went up the Republican River as far as the northern state line where he found many fossil plants and other specimens to add to the KSAC collection. In October, he accompanied Kansas Senator Edmund Ross and two others on an expedition, with a military escort, up the Solomon River to visit troops stationed in the area and to determine the valley's potential for agricultural and railroad purposes.  Mudge concentrated on soils and geology, including fossils, but also noted evidences of ancient Indian occupation. In what is now Phillips County, Mudge found a number of fossils in Cretaceous formations including the vertebrae and other portions of an eight-foot saurian.   Returning down the South Solomon River, Mudge noted much exposed magnesium limestone but found fewer fossils. Although the results of this trip were not spectacular, it was important for introducing Mudge to the large, well preserved fossils of new species awaiting discovery in western Kansas."

KU-1101T.jpg (11926 bytes)

LEFT: B. F. Mudge was among the first paleontologists in Kansas to keep accurate locality data. The donation forms that he had printed provided spaces for the legal description of the location where the fossil was found.


RIGHT: This is a label handwritten by B. F. Mudge noting the locality where these "Ichthyosaurus" vertebrae were found in 1873 (Russell County, NW 1/4, Section 20, Township 11 South, Range 14 West, in the Benton Cretaceous). The specimen consisted of vertebrae and limb bones of a short neck plesiosaur that was later re-identified and named  Trinacromerum anonymum by Williston.  (KUVP 1325)

KU1325DA.jpg (13799 bytes)

In 1870, Mudge collected fossils from the Cretaceous formations around Fort Wallace; the vertebrates he forwarded to Cope in Philadelphia and the invertebrates he sent to F. B. Meek at the Smithsonian (Peterson, 1987; pp. 229-230).  E. D. Cope's relationship with Mudge was further solidified in 1871 when Cope visited him at the Kansas State Agricultural College (KSAC) in Manhattan, Kansas (now Kansas State University) and examined Mudge's collection of mosasaur and fish specimens (Cope, 1872). Cope (1871, p. 405; later figured in Cope, 1875, pl. 26, fig. 3) also named a new species of mosasaur (Liodon mudgei) in Mudge's honor, "in recognition of the valuable results of his investigations as State geologist of Kansas." In his review of American mosasaurs, Russell (1967, pp.181-182), considered L. mudgei to be Platecarpus, nomen vanum, either P. ictericus or P. coryphaeus. Both species are now Platecarpus tympaniticus (Nicholls, 1988) and L. mudgei is a junior synonym of that species.

Mudge continued to collect fossils in 1871. According to Peterson (1987; p. 230), Mudge "went to western Kansas where he found many more vertebrates.  Although he kept specimens for the KSAC cabinet [collection], he sent the best items to experts in the East for identification and publication. The molluscs were sent to Meek, most of the plant material to Lesquereux, and most of the vertebrates to Cope. Louis Agassiz at Harvard and James D. Dana at Yale also received items.  Many of Mudge's finds were published by Cope and Lesquereux in the yearly report of the U. S. Geological Survey of the Territories. His fossil plants of 1871 included seven new species, including one species of oak that Lesquereux named Quercus mudgeii." (See: Preliminary Report of the United States Geological Survey of Montana and Portions of Adjacent Territories (Washington, 1872), 301-304)

"The collectors had another very productive year in 1872. Professor Mudge again ventured north of the Smoky Hill River. After stopping near Hays where he found fossil shells and fish, he went north to Smith County where he met the rest of his party -- Prof. G. C. Merrill of Washburn [University in Topeka, KS]; Prof. P. H. Felker of Michigan Agricultural College; R. Warder of Indiana Geological Survey; and seven KSAC students.  They explored the geology of the valleys of Prairie Dog Creek and several branches of the Solomon River and found many vertebrate fossils. Later in the year, Mudge spent two weeks examining the geology of the Arkansas River valley which became a subject for a paper he presented  before the Kansas Academy of Science.   In the Fall he had visits from both Marsh and Cope. It appears that he gave most of his saurian fossils to Cope, who found fourteen new species among them. The rarer bird-like fossils he passed to Marsh.  In July a third visitor was Leo Lesquereux who spotted a number of new species in Mudge's plant material. Lesquereux spent the summer examining plant fossils and sites in the West.  On his way to the Rocky Mountains, he stopped to collect fossil leaves at Fort Harker where he met Charles Sternberg who thereafter sent all his plant material to Lesquereux" (Peterson, 1987, p. 231).

ks-map1a.jpg (9426 bytes) Click map (circa 1900) above for locations of Kansas places mentioned in text. (See Kansas 1872 map HERE)

Williston (1898) provided the following story of what had occurred: "An incident related to me by Professor Mudge in connection with this specimen is of interest. He had been sending his vertebrate fossils previously to Professor Cope for determination. Learning through Professor Dana that Professor Marsh, who as a boy had been an acquaintance of Professor Mudge, was interested in these fossils, he changed the address upon the box containing the bird specimen after he had made it ready to send to Professor Cope, and sent it instead to Professor Marsh. Had Professor Cope received the box, he would have been the first to make known to the world the discovery of "Birds with Teeth."

"On his trip to western Kansas in the summer of 1873, Mudge spent most of his time in Trego and Ellis Counties, about 100 miles east of Fort Wallace. Visited by fewer  fossil hunters, this area was less well picked over and Mudge located a number of fine specimens of Cretaceous vertebrates. When Cope examined them in mid-October, he was of the opinion that four or five were new species." (Peterson, 1987; p. 232)

will06-a.jpg (12121 bytes) In May of 1874, B. F. Mudge collected the remains of a large elasmosaur from the Fort Hays Limestone of Jewell County, in north-central Kansas. Later Mudge (1876, p. 214) would describe the Fort Hays Member of the Niobrara Formation, saying, "It's fossils are Inocerami, fragments of Haploscapha, Ostrea, with occasional remains of fish and Saurians. The vertebrates are so rare that we never wasted our time in hunting them in this stratum; still, our largest Saurian, Brimosaurus of Leidy, was found in it in Jewell County." The specimen was sent to the Yale Peabody Museum (YPM 1640). Williston (1906) named it Elasmosaurus nobilis and wrote, "The specimen, notwithstanding what [damage] it has suffered, is of much interest since it is the only vertebrate I have any knowledge of from the Hays limestone."

LEFT: Plate IV, from Williston (1906): Elasmosaurus nobilis Williston (Considered to be "Elasmosauridae indeterminate" by Storrs, 1999)

Later that year, Mudge and his assistant, S. W. Williston, collected part of a very large plesiosaur (YPM 1644 ? - Styxosaurus snowii) from the Smoky Hill Chalk in Gove County, Kansas. This was apparently the first time that Mudge had seen gastroliths in association with plesiosaur remains. Williston, 1906, p. 232-3) noted that "It was the first specimen of a plesiosaur that I ever saw." That same summer Mudge and Williston also collected 19 vertebrae and the pelvis of the short neck plesiosaur, Polycotylus latipennis Cope  (KUVP 434) from an exposure on Plum Creek in Logan County .

Mudge (1877) noted that "in the Plesiosauri, we found another interesting feature, showing an aid to digestion similar to many living reptiles and some birds. This consisted of well-worn siliceous pebbles, from one-fourth to one-half inch in diameter. They were the more curious, as we never found such pebbles in the chalk or shales of the Niobrara. How far the Saurians wandered to collect them is a perplexing problem." In his discussion of Elasmosaurus platyurus, Williston (1906, p. 226-227) noted that, "It was with a specimen of an elasmosaur (E. snowii) that Mudge first noticed the occurrence of the peculiar siliceous pebbles which he described; and it was also with another, a large species yet unnamed, from the Benton Cretaceous, that the like specimens were found described by me in 1892. That this habit was not confined to this type of plesiosaur, however, is certain, since I have also observed it in different species of Polycotylus and Trinacromerum." (See Williston, 1893)

B. F. Mudge (1877, p. 288) describes the Smoky Hill chalk and two familiar landmarks (See more Smoky Hill Chalk Photos HERE):

"The ravines of the Niobrara exhibit many features in common with the cañons of the bad lands of Dakota and Nebraska, but on a diminutive

scale. When a firm layer of chalky limestone overlies others of a softer texture, a narrow groove will be cut through the top, and then the wear goes on rapidly down to the level of the lower grounds. Frequently such canons will be 100 feet long, 15 or 20 feet deep, and but 2 feet across the top, being wider below than above. These occur near each other, and then the ravines become quite labyrinthine; an intricate place for hunters or their enemies to hide. When these partitions between the cañons become detached from the hillsides and divided into sections, they stand as isolated. columns. Such are the well known Monument Rocks of the Smoky Hill Valley, in Wallace [now Logan] County, and Castle Rocks, of Ellis County. The former stand as detached pillars, 20 to 40 feet high, in the valley, at quite a distance from the nearest parent bluffs. In the latter example, at the extreme western angle, a pillar like a detached bastion stands 200 yards from the Castle, 60 or 70 feet high, and only 20 feet through the base. The top is limestone, then chalk, while the base is firm blue shale. The valley around is perfectly level. At the eastern end of the Castle several smaller pillars seem to stand as sentinels in that direction. The top of the Castle, overlooking all, is covered by 10 feet of Pliocene sandstone. The writer regrets that these fanciful rocks have not been photographed, so that twenty years later other photographs might show the rate of abrasion. Rain, frost, and the hands of ruthless men are destroying many of these unique pinnacles.                                            

Martin (1994; p. 138) quoted from a letter in the Yale Archives that Mudge wrote to O. C. Marsh, dated February 3, 1874: "When you were here, you stated that you should like to employ one or more young men to collect fossils in western Kansas. As perhaps you may have learned, I have been summarily  discharged (with two other professors) from this college. This has been done by an incompetent, conceited clergyman, who is acting as president." Following receipt of the letter, Marsh hired Mudge to lead the 1874 field party.  Later that year, Professor Mudge and two assistants, Harry Brous and Samuel. W. Williston (1851-1918), were collecting "vertebrates for Yale College" (Mudge, 1876, p. 216; Williston, 1898a, p. 31).  In 1876, Marsh asked Mudge to recommend someone to come to Yale and assist him (Martin, 1994; page139).   Williston went to Yale for a short time in early 1876 but had returned to work with Mudge in western Kansas by May of that year (Shor, 1971, p. 72).

Meek (1876) wrote a short note on Late Cretaceous crinoids (Uintacrinus Grinnell)) and indicated that "our specimens were sent by Professor Mudge of Manhattan, Kans. from the Niobrara Group of the Upper Missouri Cretaceous series in Trego County, Kansas; and I believe the Kansas specimens figured by Mr. Grinnell came from the same place.  The specimen first described by Professor Marsh in Utah, was found associated with Ostrea [Pseudoperna] congesta, Conrad, a species unknown from any other horizon than the Niobrara and Benton groups; thus showing, as might be expected from the invariably restricted geological range of the species of the Crinoidea, that the specimens at these two widely separated localities occupy about the same geological horizon." Meek noted that Mudge had sent his specimens "last winter," which suggests that they had been collected during Mudge's 1875 field season.

Williston (1898) wrote a brief history of fossil collecting in Kansas and included the following about his teacher and mentor: "....The first to make any systematic collections of fossils from the Cretaceous of Kansas was the late Prof. B. F. Mudge, at that time professor of geology in the Kansas Agricultural College. I was a student at that time under him at this college, and well remember the ardent enthusiasm that he evinced in the discoveries he made. His first expedition, as I remember, was up the Republican and Solomon rivers into the wholly uninhabited region, the home then of the bison and roving bands of marauding Indians. It was made shortly after the close of the college year in 1870. A chance acquaintance whom he met on the expedition, and who had recently come from Philadelphia, urged him to send his specimens to a young and promising naturalist in that city who was especially interested in vertebrate fossils. Although Professor Cope was then less than thirty years of age he had already achieved renown among naturalists, and it was to him that Professor Mudge wrote asking if he would be kind enough to examine the fossils and tell him what they were. (Click here for Cope's figure of the type specimen of Clidastes planifrons Cope 1874 (now Platecarpus planifrons) discovered by B. F. Mudge) Mrs. Mudge has kindly placed in my hands a part of the correspondence that followed, and I give herewith a letter from Professor Cope, after he had received the first consignment of fossils.......

.....Late in the season of 1870, Professor Marsh, with an escort of United States soldiers, spent a short time on the upper part of the Smoky Hill river collecting vertebrate fossils. The material then collected served for the description of a number of interesting types by Marsh. It included the first known specimen of "Odontornithes," a foot bone brought in with other material, but which was not discovered in the material until after other specimens had been obtained later. In June of the following year Marsh again visited the same region, with a larger party and a stronger escort of United States troops, and was rewarded by the discovery of the skeleton which forms the type of Hesperornis regalis Marsh, together with other material.

In 1871 Prof. E. D. Cope visited the regions and made many valuable discoveries, besides giving important notes concerning the geology of the formation. "The geology of the regions marked by this formation (the Niobrara epoch) is quite simple. The following description of the section along the line of the Kansas Pacific railroad will probably apply to similar sections north and south of it. The formations referable to the Cretaceous period on this line are the Dakota, Benton and Niobrara groups, or Nos. 1, 2, and 3, etc."

In 1872 Professor Mudge made another expedition into the Cretaceous for fossils. The party accompanying him consisted of Professor Merrill, of Washburn College, Professor Felker, of Michigan Agricultural College, Professor Warder, of the Indiana Geological Survey, and seven students of the Agricultural College.

They explored northwestern Kansas, traveling over 900 miles. It was on this exposition that Professor Mudge found the remarkable specimen of Ichthyornis, from the North Fork of the Solomon, which furnished to the world the discovery of the then startling fact of birds with genuine teeth. Under the date of September 2 of that year, Professor Marsh wrote to him inquiring about his summer collections in the Cretaceous, with the offer to "determine any reptilian or bird remains without expense," and stating that he would give him "full credit" for their discovery. Under date of September 25 he again wrote to him, acknowledging the receipt of a box of fossils, and stating that the "hollow bones are part of a bird, and the two jaws belong to a small saurian. The latter is peculiar, and I wish I had some of the vertebræ for comparison with other Kansas species." The latter is the Colonosaurus mudgei Marsh, which was afterwards found to belong with the bird specimen.

In the autumn of 1872, Marsh, with a small party, made another expedition into the same region. These were the only times that Marsh personally visited these regions, all of his collections being afterward obtained by parties employed by him. In 1873 Mudge again spent some time in the exploration of the Cretaceous beds in the more northern part of the state -- the only region that was at all safe from marauding Indians.

In 1874 Professor Mudge began systematic collections for Yale College, assisted by Mr. Henry Turner, of Clay Center. In July of that year his party was joined by Mr. (now Doctor) Harry A. Brous, of Manhattan, and myself, and explorations were continued into November along the Saline and Smoky Hill rivers.

In 1875 explorations for Yale College were continued by Professor Mudge, assisted by Mr. Brous and myself, from March to October.

In 1876 the party under charge of Professor Mudge consisted of Mr. Brous, Mr. E. W. Guild, who had been collecting the previous year independently, for Yale, Mr. G. P. Cooper, of Topeka, and myself. Work was continued until late in November.

In 1877 the party (under charge of myself) collecting for Yale College consisted of Mr. Guild, Mr. Cooper, and my brother, Mr. F. H. Williston.

Meanwhile Mr. Charles Sternberg had collected by himself in these regions, during 1875, for Professor Cope. In 1877 Mr. Sternberg was in charge of a party for Professor Cope, composed of Mr. (now Dr.) Russel Hill, of Philadelphia, Mr. Wilbur Brous and Mr. Knipe, of Manhattan. For several years following Mr. Guild collected for Yale College and Mr. Sternberg made some collections for Harvard University.

In 1878 Professors Mudge, Snow and Dyche (then a student) spent some time in Gove county collecting for the University. It was on this expedition that Professor Snow obtained the specimen of Tylosaurus showing the skin..."

For a number of years prior to 1895 Mr. H. T. Martin collected for Yale College. In 1890 Prof. George Baur collected several weeks for Professor Zittel, of Munich. In 1889 and 1890 Judge E. P. West obtained many valuable specimens for the University of Kansas. In 1891 a party under my charge, composed of Mr. (now Professor) E. C. Case, Mr. (now Professor) E. Slosson) and Mr. Charles Sternberg spent about two months on the Smoky Hill river searching for specimens for the University of Kansas. Mr. Charles Sternberg, in the latter part of that year and in the following, made considerable collections for Professor Zittel. In 1895 Messrs. H. T. Martin and T. R. Overton spent the season in making collections for the University of Kansas. During the past two years collections have been made by Mr. Martin and Doctor Mathews for the American Museum, of New York city. Some additional specimens of value have been obtained by purchase for the University of Kansas from Mr. Sternberg, Mr. Martin, and others.

This in brief represents the explorational work in the Niobrara Cretaceous deposits to the present time. The few months of collecting done by Marsh and Cope, was under ample protection of soldiers. While yet the danger was fully as great or greater, the various other parties spent over thirty months in the same regions with no protection other than what their own rifles and revolvers afforded. Immigrants were massacred almost within rifle shot of the parties at different times, but fortunately no encounter was had by the explorers, though at times the danger was escaped almost marvelously."

Mudge was probably the first to collect the associated remains of Squalicorax falcatus in Kansas. In his 1878 Report to the Board of Agriculture, Mudge (1878) wrote, "quite recently I had the good fortune to find the teeth, cartilaginous jaw and vertebrae of a shark -- Galeocerdo falcatus -- three portions, which, I think, have never hitherto been found together.  The flat, porous vertebrae had occasionally been collected, but we had been unable to give them their generic name. The teeth are frequently procured."  Unfortunately, it is unknown what happened to this specimen when the collections of the Kansas Academy of Science were moved, and then broken up.

B.F. Mudge died in his home in Manhattan, Kansas, on November 21, 1879.  Click here for a memorial to B. F. Mudge that was written by John D. Parker and published in the Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, Volume 7, pages 7-11, 1881, two years after his death.   I think the final line is a lasting tribute to Professor Benjamin F. Mudge, the first real Kansas paleontologist; "As long as science has a name and place in the great central plains of the North American continent, Prof. Mudge will not be forgotten as a scientific explorer and discoverer."

Dale Russell (1967, p. 5) in his book on the "Systematics and Morphology of American Mosasaurs" noted that "special mention is due to Prof. B. F. Mudge, who collected for Marsh during the summers of 1874-1876. The industry and thoroughness with which he work the Niobrara Chalk, the excellence and number of his specimens, and the relative accuracy and completeness of his field journal were outstanding for his time."

Memorial for Benjamin F. Mudge on Find A Grave

Publications of B. F. Mudge

Mudge, B.F. 1866. First Annual Report on the Geology of Kansas. State Printer. 57 pp. (first mention of "exogenous leaves" in sandstone)

Mudge, B.F. 1866. Discovery of fossil footmarks in the Liassic (?) Formation in Kansas. Amer. Jour. Sci., ser. 2, 41(122):174-176.

Mudge, B.F. 1868. On a meteorite which exploded over Kansas, June 6, 1868. Am. Jour. Sci. ser. 2, 46(138):429-430.

Mudge, B.F. 1872. Red sandstone of central Kansas. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans. 1:37-39. (Dakota Sandstone Fm., fossil leaves, invertebrates)

Mudge, B.F. 1872. Geology of the Arkansas. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans. 1:50-53. (Arkansas River west of Hutchinson, KS)

Mudge, B.F. 1873. Red sandstone of central Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture, State Printer, pp. 394-396.

Mudge, B.F. 1873. Geology of the Arkansas. Transactions of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture, State Printer, pp. 408-410.

Mudge, B.F. 1873. Footprints in the middle Coal Measures at Osage, Kansas. Amer. Jour. Sci. ser. 3, 5(28):228.

Mudge, B.F. 1873. Recent discoveries of fossil footprints in Kansas. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans. 2:71-74.

Mudge, B.F. 1874. A geological survey of Kansas. Kansas. Acad. Sci. Trans. 3:101-102.

Mudge, B.F. 1874. Pliocene Tertiary of western Kansas. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans. 3:113-117.

Mudge, B.F. 1874. Rare forms of fish in Kansas. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans. 3:121-122 (Agassizodus tooth plate)

Mudge, B.F. 1876. Notes on the Tertiary and Cretaceous periods of Kansas. Bull. U.S. Geol. Surv. Terr. (Hayden), 2(3):211-221.

Mudge, B.F. 1877. Notes on the Tertiary and Cretaceous periods of Kansas. pp. 277-294, in Part I (Geology) of the Ninth Annual Report, U. S. Geol. and Geo. Surv. Terr. (Hayden), for 1875, 827 p.

Mudge, B.F. 1877. Annual Report of the Committee on Geology, for the year ending November 1, 1876. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans., Ninth Annual Meeting, pp. 4-5. (discovery of Uintacrinus socialis in Kansas, Pteranodon, sharks and birds.)

Mudge, B.F. 1877. Bison latifrons in Kansas. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans. 5:10.

Mudge, B.F. 1877. Flesh fossilization an impossibility. Western Review of Science and Industry 1(8):484-485.

Mudge, B.F. 1877. Fossilization of flesh. Western Review of Science and Industry 1(10):625-626.

Mudge, B.F. 1877. Fossil leaves in Kansas. Western Review of Science and Industry 1(10):654-656.

Mudge, B.F. 1878. Geology of Kansas. Pages 60-63 in First Biennial Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture. Topeka.

Mudge, B.F. 1878. Cretaceous forests and the migrations. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans. 6:46-48. (fossil leaves)

Mudge, B.F. 1878. Internal heat of the earth. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans. 6:48-51.

Mudge, B.F. 1879. The new sink-hole in Meade Co., Kansas. Kansas City Review of Science and Industry 3(4):152-153.

Mudge, B.F. 1879. Are birds derived from dinosaurs? Kansas City Review of Science and Industry 3:224-226.

Mudge, B.F. 1880. Man and Evolution. Kansas City Review of Science and Industry 3(9):515-523. (published posthumously)

Mudge, B.F. 1881. List of minerals found in Kansas. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans. 7:27-29. (Mudge died in 1879, published posthumously)


Clarke, J. A. 2004. Morphology, phylogenetic taxonomy, and systematics of Ichthyornis and Apatornis (Avialae: Ornithurae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 286: 1-179.

Cope, E. D., 1870. [Notes on mosasaurs of New Jersey, New Mexico and Kansas.] Proc. Amer. Phil. Soc., 11(85):571-572.

Cope, E. D., 1871. On some species of Pythonomorpha from the Cretaceous beds of Kansas and New Mexico. Proc. Amer. Phil. Soc. 11(85):574-584.

Cope, E. D., 1871. On the fossil reptiles and fishes of the Cretaceous rocks of Kansas. Art. 6, pp. 385-424 (no figs.) of Pt. 4, Special Reports,
4th Ann. Rpt., U.S. Geol. Surv. Terr. (Hayden), 511 p. (Cope credits Mudge for a number of discoveries)

Cope, E. D., 1872. Note of some Cretaceous Vertebrata in the State Agricultural College of Kansas. Proc. Amer. Phil. Soc. 12(87):168-170.

Cope, E. D., 1874. Review of the vertebrata of the Cretaceous period found west of the Mississippi River. U. S. Geol. Surv. Terrs. Bull. 1(2):3-48.

Cope, E. D., 1875. The Vertebrata of the Cretaceous formations of the West. Report, U. S. Geol. Surv. Terr. (Hayden). 2:302 pp., 57 pls.

Everhart, M. J., 2002. New data on cranial measurements and body length of the mosasaur, Tylosaurus nepaeolicus (Squamata; Mosasauridae), from the Niobrara Formation of western Kansas. Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans. 105(1-2):33-43.

Everhart, M. J. 2005. Earliest record of the genus Tylosaurus (Squamata; Mosasauridae) from the Fort Hays Limestone (Lower Coniacian) of western Kansas. Transactions 108 (3/4): 149-155.

LeConte, J. L., 1868. Notes on the geology of the survey for the extension of the Union Pacific Railway, E. D., from the Smoky Hill River, Kansas, to the Rio Grande. Review Printing House, Philadelphia, 76 p. w/ folded map. (Includes addendum by E. D. Cope on the discovery of E. platyurus)

Lesquereux, L., 1868. On some Cretaceous fossil plants from Nebraska. Amer. Jour. Sci., ser. 2, 46(136):91-105.

Marsh, O. C., 1872. Discovery of a remarkable fossil bird. Amer. Jour. Sci. 3(13)56-57.  (Discovery  and naming of Ichthyornis dispar)

Marsh, O. C., 1872. Notice of a new reptile from the Cretaceous. Amer. Jour. Sci. Series 3. 4(23):406. (Colonosaurus Mudgei -The mis-identification of the toothed jaws of Ichthyornis dispar as those of a reptile)

Marsh, O. C. 1873. On a new sub-class of fossil birds (Odontornithes). American Journal of Science. Series 3, 5(25):161-162.   (Birds with teeth)

Martin, L. D., 1994. S.W. Williston and the exploration of the Niobrara Chalk, Earth Sciences History, 13(2):138-142.

Meek, F. B., 1876. Note on the new genus Uintacrinus, Grinnell. Bulletin U.S. Geological Geog. Survey Territories (Hayden), 2(4):375-378.

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Nelson, M. E., 1996. Geological exploration of Kansas as recorded by the Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science (1868-1879). Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans. 99(3-4):115-123.

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Williston, S. W., 1879. Are birds derived from dinosaurs? Kansas City Rev. Sci. Indust. 3:457-460.

Williston, S. W., 1893. An interesting food habit of the plesiosaurs. Kansas Academy Science, Transactions 13:121-122, 1 plate.

Williston, S. W., 1898. Part I. Addenda to Part I [a history of fossil collecting in western Kansas, from 1868-1898]. Pages 28-32. Kansas. Univ. Geol. Surv., 4:594 p., 120 pls. (Includes 1870 letter from E. D. Cope to B. F. Mudge)

Williston, S. W., 1898. Birds. The University Geological Survey of Kansas, Part II, 4:43-49, pls. 5-8.

Williston, S. W. 1898. Bird Tracks from the Dakota Cretaceous. The University Geological Survey of Kansas, Part II, 4:50-53, Fig. 2. 

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The life of Benjamin Mudge in Kansas

William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas - Benjamin Mudge on the Fossils of the Niobrara in Kansas

Bone Wars - The Great Fossil Feud between Cope and Marsh.

George Miller Sternberg - Doctor, Soldier, Surgeon General of the United States Army and fossil collector!

Dr. Theophilus H. Turner - Discoverer and collector of Elasmosaurus platyurus.

Dr. John H. Janeway - Fort Hays and Fort Wallace

Credits:  I thank Earl Manning (Tulane University) for the inspiration to produce this webpage, his advice on historical issues, and many useful references.

The map in the text was scanned from Plate VI in: Redway, J. W. and R. Hinman, 1900.  Natural Advanced Geography. American Book Company, 162 pp, 26 plates, 12 page supplement.