The Brontosaurus is back! Although most probably never knew it was gone.
Brontosaurus excelsus (meaning “thunder lizard”) was discovered and named in 1879, only to be reclassified in 1903 when paleontologists decided that the species had so many similarities to the already existing Apatosaurus genus, they concluded the excelsus species should be reclassified as Apatosaurus excelsus.
Brontosaurus was no more. Officially, that is. However, Brontosaurus remained in the public eye and popular culture. This can be seen in institutes, such as the American Museum of Natural History, in New York, which never updated their skeleton to reflect the re-classification. And of course, who could ever forget Fred Flintstone’s Brontosaurus Burger?
Fast forward to April 2015. In a study where paleontologists looked at over 81 different skeletons, comparing more than 400 characteristics, it was discovered that Apatosaurus excelsus did indeed have enough distinct features to warrant it’s own genus, thus reinstating Brontosaurus.
Photo Credit: Davide Bonadonna, Creative commons license CC- BY NC SA.