The iconic name Brontosaurus, which was once used for describing a huge dinosaurs family, has been resurrected after being dead for more than a century ago.
The scientists had in the year 1903 decided to consider Brontosaurus as a more complete specimen of a different type of dinosaur. However, with the advent of many more specimens of plant-eating sauropod dinosaurs, the scientists have got enough space to carry out a more expansive analysis of their bones.
The coining of the name ‘Brontosaurus’ goes back to the ‘Bone Wars’ of the late 1800s, when fossil hunters Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh raced new names of dinosaur into the scientific literature.
Both Cope and Marsh were drawn to the American west for the rich fossil beds in their quest for new specimens.
Two long-necked sauropods were discovered by Marsh’s team. The fossil hunter called one Apatosaurus ajax, while the second skeleton was named Brontosaurus excelsus.
Shortly after the death of Marsh in 1903, a team of scientists discovered a skeleton that appeared like a cross between Brontosaurus and another long-necked behemoth Apatosaurus, which was discovered by Marsh in 1877.
The science community unanimously gave approval to the classification of both dinosaurs as the separate species under one genus called Apatosaurus.
Unfortunately, Brontosaurus was officially termed extinct again.
But then on Tuesday, the researchers from the UK and Portugal once again brought Brontosaurus back in news by presenting strong evidence that Brontosaurus is actually a distinct species and genus.
The researchers calculated subtle differences between Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus fossils using statistical analyses and found that there exist numerous variations between each species and therefore they warranted an entirely new genus. This led to the rebirth of Brontosaurus.
The findings of the study were published in the open access journal PeerJ.