If I say, “brontosaurus,” I wager a really particular picture of a long-necked, long-tailed sauropod involves thoughts. It was one in all a handful of the dinosaurs we realized about as youngsters—at the very least again in my day—together with the tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops, pterodactyl, and stegosaurus. However the brontosaurus, as we knew it, was truly the apatosaurus. Or… was it?
Scientific American will kick us off with an evidence:
The primary of the Brontosaurus genus was named in 1879 by famed paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh. The specimen nonetheless stands on show within the Nice Corridor of Yale’s Peabody Museum of Pure Historical past. In 1903, nevertheless, paleontologist Elmer Riggs discovered that Brontosaurus was apparently the identical because the genus Apatosaurus, which Marsh had first described in 1877. In such circumstances the principles of scientific nomenclature state that the oldest identify has precedence, dooming Brontosaurus to a different extinction.
So if we scientists knew this all the way in which again in 1903, why did I—a toddler of the Eighties and 90s—develop up studying a couple of dinosaur that apparently by no means existed? Effectively, plainly museums had been tremendous sluggish to regulate to the change, and a few flat-out disagreed that it must be modified in any respect. Its picture and identify lived on in popular culture, being highlighted in Disney’s Fantasia in 1940 and in The Land Earlier than Time in 1988.
Earlier than we knew it, we had been adults, and our younger youngsters had been studying concerning the apatosaurus, and we had been like, “No, no, that’s a brontosaurus, foolish!” Fortunately, in 2015, another paleontologist decided there truly had been sufficient variations between the 2 teams of fossils to categorise them as separate species. So the brontosaurus did exist. Perhaps.