Re: Brontosaur?

Rod Hagen (
Tue, 14 Feb 1995 14:55:34 +1000

In article <>, (Nick Longrich) wrote:

> In article <3gc36r$>,
> (Rob Carnegie) wrote:
> > I'm not sure if this is the right news group, but here goes...
> > I have heard that the brontosaur never really existed but
> > was just a mismatch of bones from two other dinos. Is
> > this true, I still see plenty of print references to the
> > bronto. My son is dieing to know the truth of this issue.
> >
> > Rob Carnegie
> > Director of Information Systems
> > District of Chilliwack
> > He fired once, he fired twice, the whistling balls went wide.
> > "You shoot like a soldier!" cried Kamal, "Now let's see if you can ride."
> That is a question for, but here's the answer:
> Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus were discovered by the same man, I think
> it was Othniel Charles Marsh. They turned out to be the same animal, so
> one of the names had to go. According to the rules and regulations of
> zoological nomenclature, the older name (Apatosaurus) takes precedence.
> The problem is, the newer name is a more inspiring name and the public
> took to it very well. It has refused to die, and many scientists have
> argued we ought to make Brontosaurus, not Apatosaurus, the official name.
> As for bone mix-ups, Brontosaurus was originally mounted with the skull
> and tail of a Camarasaurus. Years later, the mistake was recognized and
> the skull switched for a smaller, diplodocus-like head. So it really did
> exist, although what it looked like was long in doubt and what to call it
> still is. Personally, I like Brontosaurus better.

Yep, that's it in a nutshell, but if you want the full story, have a look
at Steven Jay Gould's "Bully for the Brontosaurus", an essay in his book
of the same name, published in 1991. Better still, read the rest of the
book too for fascinating essays on matters such as 'The Case of the
Creeping Fox Terrer Clone' etc.. Your local library should have a copy.

P.S. I like Brontosaurus better too!


Rod Hagen