Since its discovery in 1903, researchers have lived with the idea that the Brontosaurus genus was in fact the Apatosaurus genus.
Now, after an exhaustive new research conducted by a team of paleontologists from United Kingdom and Portugal, the scientists have conclusive evidence that the Brontosaurus is very differ from Apatosaurus and can be reinstated as its own separate and unique genus.
The Brontosaurus is one of the most popular dinosaurs in history, inspiring many generations of kids thanks to its size and its iconic name.
However, for many years it was believed that Brontosaurus was in fact wrongly named that way and should have its name changed to Apatosaurus.
In 1903, scientists decided that since the Brontosaurus excelsus was not very different from the Apatosaurus, they should both be put in the same genus, that of the latter’s.
Because the Apatosaurus was the first to be name, the scientists decided it should be the one to bear the name of both species, which means that the Brontosaurus was never really out of the picture, it was just treated as a species belonging to the Apatosaurus genus, and its name was Apatosaurus excelsus.
And while the experts believed the genus Brontosaurus was the same as the Apatosaurus, they agreed that the excelsus species was different from other species of Apatosaurus.
With the latest study, published in the journal PeerJ, the scientists proved that the Brontosaurus was indeed different from Apatosaurus.
Emanuel Tschopp, from Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal and one of the lead authors of the study, explained that the recent research would not have been possible 15 years ago because the necessary tools would not have existed back then.
“In fact, until very recently, the claim that Brontosaurus was the same as Apatosaurus was completely reasonable, based on the knowledge we had.”
The scientists were able to make the distinction between the Brontosaurus and the Apatosaurus due to the numerous findings in recent years, findings consisting of various species of dinosaur fossils.
According to Tschopp, the researchers tried to be as objective as they can whenever they made a decision that would differentiate between genus and species.
The differences between Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus were many, explained Roger Benson, researcher at the University of Oxford and one of the co-authors of the study.
Image Source: unmuseum