Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Death of the Brontosaurus

I learned something tonight that I feel compelled to share with you, despite the fact that it embarassingly exposes my paleontologic ignorance. Regardless of the fun-making that I have endured from Becky in the long minutes since I learned, I am daring to share my new knowledge, that it might enlighten any fellow unknowing blog readers.

The brontosaurus is no more. That's right, they no longer exist.

Now, I had seen photos of our long-necked friend mysteriously labeled "apatosaurus." Close relatives, I assumed. A new dinosaur. I had even briefly pondered (brief in this case should be measured in miliseconds) the lack of modern (and by modern, I mean post Land Before Time) representation of the brontosaurus. But never did it cross my mind that the brontosaurus was just gone! Until tonight.

Headlines on my internets announced to me that new research shows that the Triceratops was also doomed. OH NOEZ! Thankfully, further inspection revealed that the headlines were probably incorrect, and in fact some boring Torosaurus will actually gain the Triceratops name rather than the other way around. The articles noted the similarity of this problem to the Brontosaurus problem. Say what, I said. Frantic googling, paired with Becky's laughter at my ignorance, brought me to the truth. The brontosaurus has passed.

So this is the way it works. Scientists find out that two previously named dinosaurs are actually one dinosaur. One name has to go. They decide based on which name was recorded first. The Triceratops is spared only because Othniel C. Marsh named it in 1889, two years before he named the Torosaurus. Brontosaurus had no such luck.

Of further note is the fact that apatosaurus apparently means "deceptive lizard," whereas brontosaurus means "thunder lizard." I think they need to reexamine their naming system, isn't the cooler name painfully obvious??

So there you have it. The more you learn, the more you know. Or something. I'll be back to blogging when I finish mourning Littlefoot. And Pluto.

1 comment:

  1. Man, Pluto and the brontosaurus...it's been a rough few years for the heroes of our elementary school careers. Fortunately it still seems that all those tales of the US adopting the metric system soon have passed. Phew!

    Hm, now I need to come up with some future blog entries that will use the "dinosaurs" tag...