April 14, 2015

The “Brontosaurus” May Be Back!

A recent New York Times (NYT) article describes a study of about 80 fossils of long-necked dinosaurs, called Diplodocidae, from museums all over the world, finding that there is evidence to bring back the name “Brontosaurus” (meaning “thunder lizard”) for one of these large plant-eating dinosaurs.

Decades ago, “Brontosaurus” was reclassified as Apatosaurus (meaning “deceptive lizard”) because people believed them to be the same and the latter was named first. According to the NYT article, the study’s authors conclude that the “Brontosaurus” and Apatosaurus are actually two different species and a specimen at the Yale Peabody Museum is a “Brontosaurus,” not an Apatosaurus as it is currently listed on the museum’s website

In other recent dinosaur news, there is new evidence indicating that tyrannosaurs, the group of meat-eating dinosaurs that includes the Tyrannosaurus rex, may have been cannibals.  It appears they used their teeth in intra-species combat and feeding.