There is no such thing as a Brontosaurus

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Othniel C. Marsh, an American paleontologist described and named Apatosaurus ajax in 1877. The remains were incomplete however. Two years later in 1879, he named Brontosaurus excelsus based on a more complete specimen.

Of all the Dinosaurs known to man, few are as well known as the Brontosaurus. The name Brontosaurus means "Thunder Lizard".

The bones that were assembled to reconstruct this dinosaur, were actually from more than one dinosaur.

The body used in the reconstruction was primarily that of an Apatosaurus (ah-PAT-oh-sawr-us).

But the head Marsh put on the Brontosaurus was actually from a Camarasaurus (kam-AIR-ah-sawr-us).

Here is a picture of a Camarasaurus. It differs drastically in skull shape from the Apatosaurus. The Camarasaurus also has a much smaller neck and tail than other sauropods.

Here is the old skull that used to be on the "Brontosaurus". Compare it to the new skull that is now on the body.

Because the Apatosaurus was found first,it's name takes priority, and the name brontosaurus is not valid. But it is interesting to see how many people still use the name brotosaurus today.

Marsh, the man who found the bones in Wyoming way back in 1879, purposely assembled the heads incorrectly. The fact is, the body he found was headless. So he used the head of the closest dinosaur he could find. (Which was miles away not only in a different quarry, but in a different layer of strata).

It didn't matter to him that the head he found was already attached to another body (The body of a Camarasaurus).

This mistake lasted until 1975, when Dr. Jack Mc Intosh and Dr. David Berman proved to the scientific community that the Brontosaurus was actually the body of an Apatosaurus.

The name Apatosaurus means "Deceptive Lizard", though it is not because of the brontosaurus mix-up.

Many people pass on the same bad information that they themselves have been taught.

Consider this quote taken from the display notebook at Dinosaur National Park Museum, Vernal Utah.

Picture source:
"Why has it taken 100 years to learn that one of the largest of all dinosaurs Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus of the school book) has been wearing the wrong head? That seems rather basic. How did this mix-up occur; and where has the old fellow's head been all of this time? The answer to the last question is, of course, that its true head has been in the museum's research collection for all these many years, patiently waiting for research to catch up to reality." (source of quote: AIG)

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