Brontosaurus is back, study says
USA Today Network Lori Grisham, USA TODAY Network 4:57 p.m. EDT April 7, 2015
Welcome back, brontosaurus.
Scientists may have been too hasty when they did away with the name "brontosaurus" in favor of the name "apatosaurus," according to a study published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal PeerJ.
In 1903, paleontologist Elmer Riggs concluded that the dinosaur known as brontosaurus was actually the same as another dinosaur, the apatosaurus.
The brontosaurus name, which means "thunder lizard," hung around for several decades longer as the popularly accepted name but faded away in recent years.
This new research claims Riggs' conclusion was incorrect.
Scientists Emanuel Tschopp, Octávio Mateus and Roger B.J. Benson reviewed 81 specimens of long-necked dinosaurs for 477 anatomical traits. If more than 20% of the traits were different, the researchers put the dinosaurs into their own genus, according to Wired. The brontosaurus bones were deemed to have specific enough traits to warrant its own name.
"We were very surprised when we got these results that brontosaurus was valid again," Tschopp told Wired.
The discovery is exciting to those in the research community.
"The author finds a number of ways in which the original specimens of brontosaurus and apatosaurus can be separated from each other," Paul Barrett of London's Natural History Museum told BBC News about the study.
Barrett called it the most comprehensive study to date.