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



"It's clear that Marsh had one eye on
classical mythology when he came up with the name _Brontosaurus_."

So to speak.

-----Original Message----- From: Tim Williams
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 6:58 PM
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: 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
Titans.


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_.



Cheers

Tim