The Fated Brontosaurus

What could be worse than being extinct? Maybe never existing? Believe it or not, there’s no such thing as a Brontosaurus. It was all a result of The Bone Wars.

Two paleontologists, Yale’s O.C. Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope raced to get dinosaur names into publication and outdo each other. This era became known as The Bone Wars. This led to the body of an Apatosaurus being combined with a the skull of a Camarasaurus in 1877. When they discovered a more complete Apatosaurus, they name it Brontosaurus which means “thunder lizard”.

By 1903 scientists had spotted the mistake, but the Brontosaurus lived on, in movies, books and children’s cartoons. Maybe because Brontosaurus has a more interesting name than Apatosaurus, which is “deceptive lizard”. Whatever the reason, there never was a Brontosaurus. Sorry Fred…