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Re: Brontosaurus

On Thu, 21 Dec 2000, Mike Taylor wrote:

re. Apatosaurus vs. Brontosaurus
> 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?

It first became apparent in 1903. At that time both names were rather
arcane scientific labels with no popular currency. Furthermore the ICZN
had no plenary powers at the time, strict priority ruled.

 > 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?

Brontosaurus seems to have hung on because Museum displays are not
changed frequently. A number of skeletons were labelled "Brontosaurus"
before the synonymy was recognised (The type of Apatosaurus was rather
scrappy and no mounted skeleton was made, nor any referred to it). When
dinosaurs began to be popular it was the name displayed those gigantic
skeletons that became popular along with them (even though it wasn't
technically correct). The final demise is probably due to the maturation
of popular dinosaur literature. Instead of being simplified outdated
nonsense parroted from popular book to popular book, todays popular
dinosaur literature are being written by authors with more expertise or
at least ones who are more widely read (these will no doubt have become
away of the correct taxonomy).   

Merry Christmas

Adam Yates