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Re: Brontosaurus



> Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 12:14:24 +0100
> From: "David Marjanovic" <David.Marjanovic@gmx.at>
> 
> > > As I can't answer for Bob so I won't, but my thinking is that
> > > since Brontosaurus is the far more common and popular
> > > nomenclature, changing the name only served to confuse and
> > > irritate dinosaur lovers everywhere (regardless of the
> > > primogenture of the other name).
> >
> > That's my feeling too.  Thanks.
> 
> Mine is different: It's far too late. *Apatosaurus* has become quite
> widely known in the meantime, and you can take its name as an
> allusion to how its name changed, or how its proposed lifestyle
> changed. Do we really want to convey the image of a trampling
> 30-tonne fatso any longer?

Ooops.  My mistake -- I didn't mean to send this to the list, only
reply to the original poster.  Howeber, now it's out there, I guess I
may as well comment further :-)

I guess I agree that now it's too late for us all to go back to
Brontosaurus, even though it's so much nicer (and no, I'm not using
that word in a formal scientific sense!) than Apatosaurus; after all,
the name Apatosaurus is now as firmly established in scientific usage
as Brontosaurus is in popular.

But wouldn't it have been great if the ICZN had waived the usual rules
over the name change when it first became apparent?  Presumably this
is what's happened to save T. rex from becoming Manospondylus?

Another question on the same subject: I believe it was long ago (the
early half of the century) that Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus were
discovered to be synonymous, yet it seems that Brontosaurus was still
in common usage much much later than this -- e.g. throughout Adrian
J. Desmond's 1975 book, _The Hot Blooded Dinosaurs_.  Anyone know how
Brontosaurus hung on so long after it had been officially dethroned,
and what finally killed it off?

(Apologies if these are stupid questions that everyone already knows
the answers to: if it's any consolation, you can at least be assured
that the answers will be preserved for posterity in the FAQ.)

 _/|_    _______________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor -- <mirk@mail.org> -- http://www.miketaylor.org.uk/
)_v__/\  "Whether I deserve it or not, I'm a big fan of my work :-)" --
         Dave Slusher.