Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus.


I remember growing up learning “um actually, it’s called a…” but recently, I discovered the mistake was actually discovered in 1903. 190 fucking 3! So when I learned it as a kid, in the 1980s, eighty years later, we’re still doing “um actually?” But now apparently there’s two.

Are these two the same dinosaur, or different ones? Have they always been different/the same, or have paleontologists made some kind of retcon where they just named a different dinosaur the brontosaurus so now we can have both.

In: Biology

Apatosaurus was discovered in 1877 and given its name.
Brontosaurus was discovered in 1879. Despite looking similar there were enough differences it was believed to be a different ~~species~~ creature and given a new name

In 1903 it was decided that these two fossils actually ~~belonged to the same species~~ were skeletons of the same type of animal and as a result should have the same name. Since Apatosaurus was named first it had priority for naming rights and the name was used “officially”. However the name Brontosaurus entered popular culture and media and was more heavily known by the common man and as a result was still used even through the end of the 20th century.

In 2015 after re(re) examining the fossils it is now been determined that the fossils actually probably were in fact different enough to have seperate names, so now Brontosaurus is again being used in some parts of the scientific community. (There is still some disagreement among members of the scientific community about this point)

Edit: reworded and added punctuation for clarity