Of course dinosaur hunting didn't end with the deaths of the great nineteenth-century fossil hunters. Indeed, to a surprising extent it had only just begun. In 1898, the year that fell between the deaths of Cope and Marsh, a trove greater by far than anything found before was discovered—noticed, really—at a place called Bone Cabin Quarry, only a few miles from Marsh's prime hunting ground at Como Bluff, Wyoming. There, hundreds and hundreds of fossil bones were to be found weathering out of the hills. They were so numerous, in fact, that someone had built a cabin out of them—hence the name. In just the first two seasons, 100,000 pounds of ancient bones were excavated from the site, and tens of thousands of pounds more came in each of the half dozen years that followed.
The upshot is that by the turn of the twentieth century, paleontologists had literally tons of old bones to pick over. The problem was that they still didn't have any idea how old any of these bones were. Worse, the agreed ages for the Earth couldn't comfortably support the numbers of eons and ages and epochs that the past obviously contained. If Earth were really only twenty million years old or so, as the great Lord Kelvin insisted, then whole orders of ancient creatures must have come into being and gone out again practically in the same geological instant. It just made no sense.