Ernst Stromer

Ernst Stromer
Wikimedia Commons

Born into an aristocratic German family on 1870, Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach achieved fame shortly before World War I, when he participated in a fossil-hunting expedition to Egypt.

His Famous Discovery

In the course of a few weeks, from January to February of 1911, Stromer identified and unearthed a series of large bones buried deep in the Egyptian desert, which challenged his paleontological skills (as he wrote in his journal, "I don’t know how to conserve such massive species.") After carting the bones back to Germany, he stunned the world by announcing the discovery of a new genus of   sauropod, Aegyptosaurus, and two huge theropods, Carcharodontosaurus and the bigger than a T Rex, Spinosaurus.

Unfortunately, subsequent world events were not kind to Ernst Stromer. All of his hard-won fossils were destroyed during a raid by the Royal Air Force on Munich in 1944, during World War II, and two of his three sons died while serving in the German army. There is a bit of a happy ending, though: his third son, presumed dead, had actually been held a prisoner in the Soviet Union, and he was repatriated to Germany in 1950, two years before his father’s death. Stromer died in 1952.