Still, his altruism in general toward his fellow man did not deflect him from more personal rivalries. One of his last official acts was to lobby against a proposal to erect a statue in memory of Charles Darwin. In this he failed—though he did achieve a certain belated, inadvertent triumph. Today his statue commands a masterly view from the staircase of the main hall in the Natural History Museum, while Darwin and T. H. Huxley are consigned somewhat obscurely to the museum coffee shop, where they stare gravely over people snacking on cups of tea and jam doughnuts.
It would be reasonable to suppose that Richard Owen's petty rivalries marked the low point of nineteenth-century paleontology, but in fact worse was to come, this time from overseas. In America in the closing decades of the century there arose a rivalry even more spectacularly venomous, if not quite as destructive. It was between two strange and ruthless men, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh.
They had much in common. Both were spoiled, driven, self-centered, quarrelsome, jealous, mistrustful, and ever unhappy. Between them they changed the world of paleontology.