Paleontology or palaeontology (from Greek: paleo, "ancient"; ontos, "being"; and logos, "knowledge") is the study of prehistoriclife forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, fossilised feces (coprolites), palynomorphs and chemical residues. Because humans have encountered fossils for millennia, paleontology has a long history both before and after becoming formalized as a science. This article records significant discoveries and events related to paleontology that occurred or were published in the year 1912.
Expeditions, field work, and fossil discoveries
William Edmund Cutler first began collecting fossils, choosing the mouth of Kneehills Creek in Alberta as a prospecting site. According to paleontologist Darren Tanke, Cutler was motivated by "commercial gain".
Charles H. Sternberg and his sons began working under a contract with the Geological Survey of Canada, which at the time was responsible for maintaining the National Museum of Canada. Lawrence Lambe occupied a supervisory position in the project.The Sternbergs were in competition with Barnum Brown of the American Museum of Natural History through a period that came to be known as the Great Canadian Dinosaur Rush.
The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was published. This novel was the first major fictional portrayal of dinosaurs in the 20th century. It was also the first work of fiction to depict dinosaurs as surviving somewhere in a remote wilderness refuge. Conan Doyle depicted the novel's dinosaurs as cold blooded and stupid. This accurately reflected the scientific thinking of the period, but is now obsolete.Paleontologist William A. S. Sarjeant has characterized Conan Doyle's dinosaurs as otherwise "excellently described".Conan Doyle also incorrectly accepted the prevailing scientific consensus of the period that pterosaurs were poor fliers who depended on gliding to travel. Nevertheless, Sarjeant also noted that while Conan Doyle underestimated pterosaur flying abilities, he anticipated the later scientific conclusion that they were social animals.
^Gini-Newman, Garfield; Graham, Elizabeth (2001). Echoes from the past: world history to the 16th century. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd. ISBN9780070887398. OCLC46769716.
^ abD. H. Tanke. 2010. Lost in plain sight: rediscovery of William E. Cutler's missing Eoceratops. In M. J. Ryan, B. J. Chinnery-Allgeier, D. A. Eberth (eds.), New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs: The Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium. Indiana University Press, Bloomington 541-550.