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Scientists revive Brontosaurus

By Jasmine, 10 April 2015 News

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Could the Brontosaurus be back?
Image: ©istock.com/CoreyFord

Written by Hugo Taylor

Have you ever heard of the Brontosaurus? This giant dinosaur pops up in books, movies, television shows, in fact, almost everywhere! Even when it was thrown out by scientists, we didn’t want to let it go from our collective imagination. The good news is that this much-loved dinosaur is back.

The history of the Brontosaurus is long and colourful. Over 100 years ago, there was a race to discover new dinosaurs, known as ‘the bone wars’. Paleontologist O.C. Marsh found many new dinosaurs during this time – in 1877 he described the Apatosaurus and in 1879, the Brontosaurus was greeted as a newly found dinosaur.

Several years later, Marsh’s evidence was revised. Scientists compared both dinosaurs to a new skeleton. They came to the conclusion that all three dinosaurs were the same species. Since Apatosaurus was named first, the name Brontosaurus was relegated to the dustbin.

For 100 years, scientists thought Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus were the same dinosaur. But recently, old information regarding the Brontosaurus has been formally re-assessed.

The researchers studied the evolutionary relationship of different dinosaurs using their remaining fossil bones. They found conclusive evidence that Brontosaurus is distinct from Apatosaurus and can now be reinstated as its own unique genus.

Science is a constantly changing subject, not just a dusty pile of old facts. The Brontosaurus’ resurrection is an example of how new research can change previously accepted science.

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