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Re: Brontosaursus



Numerous contibutors have said,
>> "I use BRONTOSAURUS not APATOSAURUS even though, according to
>>  the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, the latter
>>  is the legal name...
> Yes! I agree very strongly...

I disagree, very strongly. The reason for the Rule of Priority
is not only to reward the discoverer of a species, but also to
prevent confusion. The fear was that multiple names applied to
the same species would cause confusion.  The reason to use Apatosaurus rather
than Brontosaurus isn't the rule of priority
of the Code. The reason to use Apatosaurus is that the two names
apply two different things. While Brontosaurus was considered to
be a valid species, it was the name to use. Now we know that 

Brontosaurus was the name applied to one specimen; Apatasaurus
was the name applied to another. The two names were applied to
two different genuses. "Brontosaurus" was found to be a chimera,
constructed from the pieces of other species. Apatosaurus remains
valid. To apply the name "Brontosaurus" to Apatosaurus does not
retain the "species", it discards the original "Brontosaurus,"
and renames the Apatosaurus. It's like discovering Santa Claus
isn't real, and applying the name to James Brown, because they
sort of look alike...

If it were not for the fact that "Brontosaurus" was more
publicized than Apatosaurus, we would not even be discussing
this. "Brontosaurus" has no scientific validity, but it had
a darned good PR campaign.