[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Etymology of Brontosaurus (RE: Pantydraco and the worst dinosaur name)

Brad McFeeters wrote:

> Marsh also named a genus "Titanosaurus" in 1877, but Lydekker's was published 
> first.

Good point.  When Marsh found out that _Titanosaurus_ was preoccupied,
he re-named it _Atlantosaurus_ after Atlas, the strongest of the

Jaime A. Headden wrote:

>  Lydekker coined *Titanosaurus indicus* (Indian Titan lizard) in 1877. Marsh 
> coined *Brontosaurus excelsus* (exceeding Brontes [Thunderer] lizard) in 1879.
>  Brontes is one of the three titanic Cylopes who aid Hephaistos in the 
> crafting of the lightning and thunder for Zeus, who are themselves children 
> of the Titanes
> Gaia and Ouranos ... the latter whom Zeus slays. They are, in essence, Titan 
> progeny. I do not think the nomenclatural similarities between "Titan" and the
> Titan Brontes are coincidental. Despite this, it has become stereotypical 
> that "Brontosaurus" means thunder lizard, and for various reasons, and as 
> such that
> the roots would be adopted among other taxa alluding to this, a probably 
> miscommunication. This includes, but is not limited to, other sauropods.

A minor theological point: The three Cyclopes - Brontes ("thunder"),
Steropes ("lightning"), and Arges ("flash" or "bolt") - were the
siblings of the Titans.  The twelve Titans, three Cyclopes, three
Hecatoncheires (hundred-handed ones), and the twenty-four giants
(Gigantes) were all the progeny of Ouranos (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth).
(BTW, one of those twenty-four giants was Rhoetos, which gives its
name to the sauropod _Rhoetosaurus_.)

I don't think the nomenclatural similarities between "Titan" and
Brontes are coincidental either.  It's clear that Marsh had one eye on
classical mythology when he came up with the name _Brontosaurus_.