Is Brontosaurus a real dinosaur? This subject can be a bit confusing but this article will reveal the truth about Brontosaurus.
Camarasaurus – image via dinosaurs.wikia.com
Apatosaurus – image via animals.howstuffworks.com
Most of you readers might not be aware of it but the sauropod dinosaur known as Brontosaurus despite it’s huge popularity… never existed! I will now give you an explanation.
The famous paleontologist Othniel Marsh described in 1879 fossilized skeleton parts and categorized it correctly as a sauropod. He then quickly gave it the name Brontosaurus meaning Thunder Lizard and hurried into the field again to find more fossils! He was in such a hurry because he didn’t want his paleontological rival Edward Drinker Cope to discover more dinos before him.
In 1903 the Brontosaurus was examined more closely and it was suggested that most of the body was made of bones from an Apatosaurus and the skull was from a Camarasaurus which was ultimately proofed in 1975. In short Brontosaurus was made up from 2 different animals! The funny part is that Marsh the discoverer of this “new” dinosaur mixed the 2 animals on purpose. He found an Apatosaurus body with a missing head so what did he do? He simply took the closest fossilized head he could find which was of Camarasaurus and which he found several miles away from the Apatosaur… and found in a different layer of strata…
It’s a sad reality that competition can lead scientists to be so unscientific. But the legacy of Brontosaurus lives on and the name though inaccurate continues to be used in popular culture such as in movies like Jurassic Park and Peter Jackson’s King Kong. It’s funny how the term Brontosaurus is used until this day even though that it’s a scientific inaccuracy.