Janice Boekhoff
 

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One of America’s favorite dinosaurs has made a comeback after a century of being pushed out of its rightful place in history. Flintstones fans will be happy to know the Brontosaurus has been vindicated. In 1903, long before the Flintstones used them as workhorses, the Brontosaurus genus had already been rejected by a paleontologist name Elmer Riggs who concluded there weren’t enough differences between Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus to warrant separate classification. Since Apatosaurus was named first, that name was kept for the genus (note: genus is one classification level above species).

In recent years, more complete fossil skeletons have been found, enabling comparisons that scientists couldn’t make several years ago. A recent study (April 2015, for full article click here) has overturned Riggs decision, making Brontosaurus a genus once again. The study, conducted by researchers from Portugal and the UK named Emanuel Tschopp , Octávio Mateus and Roger B.J. Benson, reviewed 81 specimens of long-necked dinosaurs from the family Diplodocidae to give a comprehensive look at certain anatomical traits.

The differences they found between the genera Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus were more than 20%, allowing them to say that Brontosaurus deserved its own genus. So, now the name of the thunder lizard can be confidently proclaimed.

Of course, when interviewed about the change, Brontosaurus kept a stony silence rather than complain about how long this took.

References: http://www.cnet.com/news/welcome-back-brontosaurus/, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/04/07/brontosaurus-back/25413671/, https://peerj.com/articles/857/#intro

 

Photo Credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/9106303@N05/11105904724″>Peeping Tom, East Side</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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