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The type species of *Brontosaurus* is *excelsus*, whilst the type species of
*Apatosaurus* is *ajax*. The former is based on a partial, but purportedly
adult skeleton; the latter is based on a more complete, but juvenile skeleton.
It has been generally assumed that the types, while comparable in some aspects,
represent defacto the same "kind" of animal, though *excelsus* and *ajax* are
retained as separate species. One may make the case that *Brontosaurus* is
useful because *excelsus* itself is not a synonym itself, and the use of
binomial taxonomic nomenclature for most, if not all, dinosaur species.
Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)
"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)
"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion
> Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2013 22:53:37 +0200
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To: VRTPALEO@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Complaining
> Rescued from truncation (question from Stephen Richey):
> Question....since Brontosaurus is no longer used, could it be
> reassigned to another species at some point? I have always wondered
> what the rules about that are.
> Type species of Apatosaurus is Apatosaurus ajax Marsh, 1877.
> Type species of Brontosaurus is Brontosaurus excelsus Marsh, 1879.
> Elmer Riggs synonymised Brontosaurus with Apatosaurus in 1903, and his
> synonymy has been widely accepted since (Upchurch et al. (2004) found
> the synonymy to be acceptable in their review of Apatosaurus, which
> can be viewed for free here
> If Brontosaurus excelsus is shown to belong to a different genus
> need to be reinstated.
> Another problem lies with Atlantosaurus (Titanosaurus) montanus, which
> was named before either Apatosaurus or Brontosaurus. If it proves to
> be the same as either or both, it will have priority. From memory,
> someone attempted to instate Atlantosaurus as the senior synonym of
> both at some point... can't remember who off the top of my head.
> Dr. Stephen Poropat
> Postdoctoral Research Fellow
> Uppsala University
> Villavägen 16
> SE-752 36 Uppsala
> Research Associate
> Australian Age of Dinosaurs
> PO Box 408
> Winton 4735