Brontosaurus

Brontosaurus (/ˌbrɒntəˈsɔːrəs/[1][2]; meaning "thunder lizard" from Greek βροντή, brontē "thunder" and σαῦρος, sauros "lizard") is a genus of gigantic quadruped sauropod dinosaurs. Although the type species, B. excelsus, had long been considered a species of the closely related Apatosaurus,[3] researchers proposed in 2015 that Brontosaurus is a genus separate from Apatosaurus and that it contains three species: B. excelsus, B. yahnahpin, and B. parvus.[4]

Brontosaurus had a long, thin neck and a small head adapted for a herbivorous lifestyle; a bulky, heavy torso; and a long, whip-like tail. The various species lived during the Late Jurassic epoch in the Morrison Formation of what is now North America, and were extinct by the end of the Jurassic.[5] Adult individuals of Brontosaurus are estimated to have weighed up to 15 tonnes (15 long tons; 17 short tons) and measured up to 22 metres (72 ft) long.

As the archetypal sauropod, Brontosaurus is one of the best-known dinosaurs and has been featured in film, advertising, and postage stamps, as well as many other types of media.

Brontosaurus
Temporal range: Late Jurassic, 156.3–146.8 Ma
Brontosaurus Yale Peabody cropped
Holotype specimen of B. excelsus (YPM 1980), Peabody Museum of Natural History
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Clade: Sauropoda
Family: Diplodocidae
Subfamily: Apatosaurinae
Genus: Brontosaurus
Marsh, 1879
Type species
Brontosaurus excelsus
Marsh, 1879
Referred species
  • Brontosaurus parvus
    (Peterson & Gilmore, 1902)
  • Brontosaurus yahnahpin
    (Filla & Redman, 1994)
Synonyms
  • Elosaurus Peterson & Gilmore, 1902
  • Eobrontosaurus Bakker, 1998
  • Apatosaurus excelsus Riggs, 1903

Description

Apatosaurus scale mmartyniuk wiki
Comparison of three specimens and a human: Oklahoma specimen of Apatosaurus ajax (orange), A. louisae (red), and Brontosaurus parvus (green)

Brontosaurus was a large, long-necked quadrupedal animal with a long, whip-like tail, and forelimbs that were slightly shorter than its hindlimbs. The largest species, B. excelsus, weighed up to 15 tonnes (15 long tons; 17 short tons) and measured up to 22 m (72 ft) long from head to tail.[6] For comparison, the current largest land animal, the average male African bush elephant, is 3.20 m (10.5 ft) tall at the shoulder and has a body mass of 6,000 kg (13,228 lb) or 6.6 short tons.

The skull of Brontosaurus hasn't been found but was probably similar to the skull of the closely related Apatosaurus. Like those of other sauropods, the vertebrae of the neck were deeply bifurcated; that is, they carried paired spines, resulting in a wide and deep neck.[7] The spine and tail consisted of 15 cervicals, 10 dorsals, 5 sacrals, and about 82 caudals. The number of caudal vertebrae was noted to vary, even within a species. The cervical vertebrae were stouter than other diplodocids, though not as stout as in mature specimens of Apatosaurus. The dorsal ribs are not fused or tightly attached to their vertebrae, instead being loosely articulated.[8] Ten dorsal ribs are on either side of the body.[3] The large neck was filled with an extensive system of weight-saving air sacs. Brontosaurus, like its close relative Apatosaurus, had tall spines on its vertebrae, which made up more than half the height of the individual bones. The shape of the tail was unusual for diplodocids, being comparatively slender, due to the vertebral spines rapidly decreasing in height the farther they are from the hips. Brontosaurus also had very long ribs compared to most other diplodocids, giving them unusually deep chests.[9] As in other diplodocids, the last portion of the tail of Brontosaurus possessed a whip-like structure.[8]

Brontosaurus by Tom Parker
Restoration of B. excelsus.

The limb bones were also very robust.[9] The arm bones are stout, with the humerus resembling that of Camarasaurus, and those of B. excelsus being nearly identical to those of Apatosaurus ajax. Charles Gilmore in 1936 noted that previous reconstructions erroneously proposed that the radius and ulna could cross, when in life they would have remained parallel.[8] Brontosaurus had a single large claw on each forelimb, and the first three toes possessed claws on each foot.[10] Even by 1936, it was recognized that no sauropod had more than one hand claw preserved, and this one claw is now accepted as the maximum number throughout the entire group.[8][11] The single front claw bone is slightly curved and squarely shortened on the front end. The hip bones included robust ilia and the fused pubes and ischia. The tibia and fibula bones of the lower leg were different from the slender bones of Diplodocus, but nearly indistinguishable from those of Camarasaurus. The fibula is longer than the tibia, although it is also more slender.[8]

History

Brontosaurus skeleton 1880s
An 1896 diagram of the B. excelsus holotype skeleton by O.C. Marsh. The head is based on material now assigned to Brachiosaurus sp.

In 1879, O.C. Marsh, a professor of paleontology at Yale University, announced the discovery of a large and fairly complete sauropod skeleton from Morrison Formation rocks at Como Bluff, Wyoming. He identified it as belonging to an entirely new genus and species, which he named Brontosaurus excelsus,[3] [12] meaning "thunder lizard", from the Greek brontē/βροντη meaning "thunder" and sauros/σαυρος meaning "lizard",[13] and from the Latin excelsus, "noble" or "high".[14] By this time, the Morrison Formation had become the center of the Bone Wars, a fossil-collecting rivalry between early paleontologists Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope. Because of this, the publications and descriptions of taxa by Marsh and Cope were rushed at the time.[15]

Sharp lull brontosaurus
Obsolete mount of an apatosaurine referred to B. excelsus (specimen AMNH 460) with sculpted skull, completed in 1905, American Museum of Natural History

Elmer Riggs, in the 1903 edition of Geological Series of the Field Columbian Museum, argued that Brontosaurus was not different enough from Apatosaurus to warrant its own genus, so he created the new combination Apatosaurus excelsus for it. Riggs stated that "In view of these facts the two genera may be regarded as synonymous. As the term 'Apatosaurus' has priority, 'Brontosaurus' will be regarded as a synonym".[3] Nonetheless, before the mounting of the American Museum of Natural History specimen, Henry Fairfield Osborn chose to label the skeleton "Brontosaurus", though he was a strong opponent of Marsh and his taxa.[16][17]

In 1905, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) unveiled the first-ever mounted skeleton of a sauropod, a composite specimen (mainly made of bones from AMNH 460) that they referred to as the species Brontosaurus excelsus. The AMNH specimen was very complete, only missing the feet (feet from the specimen AMNH 592 were added to the mount), lower leg, and shoulder bones (added from AMNH 222), and tail bones (added from AMNH 339).[18] To complete the mount, the rest of the tail was fashioned to appear as Marsh believed it should, which had too few vertebrae. In addition, a sculpted model of what the museum felt the skull of this massive creature might look like was placed on the skeleton. This was not a delicate skull like that of Diplodocus, which would later turn out to be more accurate, but was based on "the biggest, thickest, strongest skull bones, lower jaws and tooth crowns from three different quarries".[8][3][19][20] These skulls were likely those of Camarasaurus, the only other sauropod for which good skull material was known at the time. The mount construction was overseen by Adam Hermann, who failed to find Brontosaurus skulls. Hermann was forced to sculpt a stand-in skull by hand. Henry Fairfield Osborn noted in a publication that the skull was "largely conjectural and based on that of Morosaurus" (now Camarasaurus).[16]

AMNH Apatosaurus
Skeleton of the AMNH apatosaurine (possibly B. excelsus, specimen AMNH 460) as remounted in 1995

In 1909, an Apatosaurus skull was found, during the first expedition to what would become the Carnegie Quarry at Dinosaur National Monument, led by Earl Douglass. The skull was found a few meters away from a skeleton (specimen CM 3018) identified as the new species Apatosaurus louisae. The skull was designated CM 11162, and was very similar to the skull of Diplodocus. It was accepted as belonging to the Apatosaurus specimen by Douglass and Carnegie Museum director William H. Holland, although other scientists, most notably Osborn, rejected this identification. Holland defended his view in 1914 in an address to the Paleontological Society of America, yet he left the Carnegie Museum mount headless. While some thought Holland was attempting to avoid conflict with Osborn, others suspected that Holland was waiting until an articulated skull and neck were found to confirm the association of the skull and skeleton.[16] After Holland's death in 1934, a cast of a Camarasaurus skull was placed on the mount by museum staff.[17]

Yale Peabody Apatosaurus skull sculpt
Hypothetical skull, sculpted in 1931, Yale Peabody Museum

At the Yale Peabody Museum, a skeleton was mounted in 1931 with a skull unique from all the others. While at the time most museums were using Camarasaurus casts, the Peabody Museum sculpted a completely different skull. They based the lower jaw on a Camarasaurus mandible, with the cranium resembling Marsh's 1891 illustration. The skull also included forward-pointing nasals, something truly different to any dinosaur, and fenestrae differing from the drawing and other skulls.[16]

No apatosaurine skull was mentioned in literature until the 1970s, when John Stanton McIntosh and David Berman redescribed the skulls of Diplodocus and Apatosaurus. They found that though he never published his opinion, Holland was almost certainly correct, that Apatosaurus (and Brontosaurus) had a Diplodocus-like skull. According to them, many skulls long thought to pertain to Diplodocus might instead be those of Apatosaurus. They reassigned multiple skulls to Apatosaurus based on associated and closely associated vertebrae. Though they supported Holland, Apatosaurus was noted to possibly have possessed a Camarasaurus-like skull, based on a disarticulated Camarasaurus-like tooth found at the precise site where an Apatosaurus specimen was found years before.[20] On October 20, 1979, after the publications by McIntosh and Berman, the first skull of an Apatosaurus was mounted on a skeleton in a museum, that of the Carnegie.[17] In 1995, the American Museum of Natural History followed suit, and unveiled their remounted skeleton (now labelled Apatosaurus excelsus) with a corrected tail and a new skull cast from A. louisae.[18] In 1998, the Felch Quarry skull that Marsh included in his 1896 skeletal restoration was suggested to belong to Brachiosaurus instead.[21] In 2011, the first specimen of Apatosaurus where a skull was found articulated with its cervical vertebrae was described. This specimen, CMC VP 7180, was found to differ in both skull and neck features from A. louisae, and the specimen was found to have a majority of features related to those of A. ajax.[22]

Brontosaurus infographic
Infographic explaining the history of Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus according to Tschopp et al. 2015

Almost all 20th-century paleontologists agreed with Riggs that all Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus species should be classified together in a single genus. According to the rules of the ICZN (which governs the scientific names of animals), the name Apatosaurus, having been published first, had priority as the official name; Brontosaurus was considered a junior synonym and was therefore discarded from formal use.[23][24][25][26] Despite this, at least one paleontologist—Robert T. Bakker—argued in the 1990s that A. ajax and A. excelsus are in fact sufficiently distinct that the latter continues to merit a separate genus.[27] In 2015, an extensive study of diplodocid relationships by Emanuel Tschopp, Octavio Mateus, and Roger Benson concluded that Brontosaurus was indeed a valid genus of sauropod distinct from Apatosaurus. The scientists developed a statistical method to more objectively assess differences between fossil genera and species, and concluded that Brontosaurus could be "resurrected" as a valid name. They assigned two former Apatosaurus species, A. parvus and A. yahnahpin, to Brontosaurus, as well as the type species B. excelsus.[4] Paleontologist Michael D'Emic made a critique.[28] Palaeontologist Donald Prothero criticized the mass media reaction to this study as superficial and premature, concluding:

Until someone has convincingly addressed the issue, I'm going to put "Brontosaurus" in quotes and not follow the latest media fad, nor will I overrule Riggs (1903) and put the name in my books as a valid genus.[29]

Classification

Brontosaurus is a member of the family Diplodocidae, a clade of gigantic sauropod dinosaurs. The family includes some of the longest and largest creatures ever to walk the earth, including Diplodocus, Supersaurus, and Barosaurus. Brontosaurus is also classified in the subfamily Apatosaurinae, which also includes Apatosaurus and one or more possible unnamed genera.[4] Othniel Charles Marsh described Brontosaurus as being allied to Atlantosaurus, within the now defunct group Atlantosauridae.[3][30] In 1878, Marsh raised his family to the rank of suborder, including Apatosaurus, Brontosaurus, Atlantosaurus, Morosaurus (=Camarasaurus), and Diplodocus. He classified this group within Sauropoda. In 1903, Elmer S. Riggs mentioned that the name Sauropoda would be a junior synonym of earlier names, and grouped Apatosaurus within Opisthocoelia.[3] Most authors still use Sauropoda as the group name. [31]

Eobrontosaurus yahnahpin
Left front limb of B. yahnahpin, Morrison Natural History Museum

Originally named by its discoverer Othniel Charles Marsh in 1879, Brontosaurus had long been considered a junior synonym of Apatosaurus; its type species, Brontosaurus excelsus, was reclassified as A. excelsus in 1903. However, an extensive study published in 2015 by a joint British-Portuguese research team concluded that Brontosaurus was a valid genus of sauropod distinct from Apatosaurus.[4][32][33] Nevertheless, not all paleontologists agree with this division.[28][29] The same study classified two additional species that had once been considered Apatosaurus and Eobrontosaurus as Brontosaurus parvus and Brontosaurus yahnahpin respectively.[4] Cladogram of the Diplodocidae after Tschopp, Mateus, and Benson (2015):[4]

 Diplodocidae 

Amphicoelias altus

 Apatosaurinae 

Unnamed species

Apatosaurus ajax

Apatosaurus louisae

Brontosaurus excelsus

Brontosaurus yahnahpin

Brontosaurus parvus

 Diplodocinae 

Unnamed species

Tornieria africana

Supersaurus lourinhanensis

Supersaurus vivianae

Leinkupal laticauda

Galeamopus hayi

Diplodocus carnegii

Diplodocus hallorum

Kaatedocus siberi

Barosaurus lentus

Species

  • Brontosaurus excelsus, the type species of Brontosaurus, was first named by Marsh in 1879. Many specimens, including the holotype specimen YPM 1980, have been assigned to the species. They include FMNH P25112, the skeleton mounted at the Field Museum of Natural History, which has since been found to represent an unknown species of apatosaurine. Brontosaurus amplus, occasionally assigned to B. parvus, is a junior synonym of B. excelsus. B. excelsus therefore only includes its type specimen and the type specimen of B. amplus.[4][31] The largest of these specimens is estimated to have weighed up to 15 tonnes and measured up to 22 m (72 ft) long from head to tail.[6] Both known definitive B. excelsus fossils have been reported from Reed’s Quarry 10 of the Morrison Formation Brushy Basin member in Albany County, Wyoming, dated to the late Kimmeridgian age,[4] about 152 million years ago.
Apatosaurus Clean
Mounted cast skeleton of B. parvus (UW 15556)
  • Brontosaurus parvus, first described as Elosaurus in 1902 by Peterson and Gilmore, was reassigned to Apatosaurus in 1994, and to Brontosaurus in 2015. Specimens assigned to this species include the holotype, CM 566 (a partial skeleton of a juvenile found in Sheep Creek Quarry 4 in Albany County, WY), BYU 1252-18531 (a nearly complete skeleton found in Utah and mounted at Brigham Young University), and the partial skeleton UW 15556 (which had once been accidentally mixed together with the holotype). It dates to the middle Kimmeridgian.[31] Adult specimens are estimated to have weighed up to 14 tonnes and measured up to 22 m (72 ft) long from head to tail.[6]
  • Brontosaurus yahnahpin is the oldest species, known from a single site from the lower Morrison Formation, Bertha Quarry, in Albany County, Wyoming, dating to about 155 million years ago.[5][34] It grew up to 21 metres (69 ft) long.[35] The type species, E. yahnahpin, was described by James Filla and Patrick Redman in 1994 as a species of Apatosaurus (A. yahnahpin).[36] The specific name is derived from Lakota mah-koo yah-nah-pin, "breast necklace", a reference to the pairs of sternal ribs that resemble the hair pipes traditionally worn by the tribe. The holotype specimen is TATE-001, a relatively complete postcranial skeleton found in Wyoming, in the lower Morrison Formation. More fragmentary remains have also been referred to the species. A re-evaluation by Robert T. Bakker in 1998 found it to be more primitive, so Bakker coined the new generic name Eobrontosaurus, derived from Greek eos, "dawn", and Brontosaurus.[37]

The cladogram below is the result of an analysis by Tschopp, Mateus, and Benson (2015). The authors analyzed most diplodocid type specimens separately to deduce which specimen belonged to which species and genus.[4]

Apatosaurus caudal vertebra pneumatic fossa
Tail vertebra of B. excelsus specimen YPM 1980
 Apatosaurinae 

YPM 1840 ("Atlantosaurus" immanis type)

NSMT-PV 20375

AMNH 460

 Apatosaurus 
 Apatosaurus ajax 

YPM 1860 (Apatosaurus ajax type)

 Apatosaurus louisae 

CM 3018 (Apatosaurus louisae type)

YPM 1861 (Apatosaurus laticollis type)

 Brontosaurus 
 Brontosaurus excelsus 

YPM 1980 (Brontosaurus excelsus type)

YPM 1981 (Brontosaurus amplus type)

AMNH 5764 (Amphicoelias altus type)

FMNH P25112

 Brontosaurus yahnahpin 

Tate-001 (Eobrontosaurus yahnahpin type)

 Brontosaurus parvus 

CM 566 (Elosaurus parvus type)

UM 15556

BYU 1252-18531

Palaeobiology

Posture and locomotion

Brontosaurus parvus
Cast of B. parvus specimen UWGM 15556 at Tellus Science Museum

Historically, sauropods like Brontosaurus were believed to be too massive to support their own weight on dry land, so theoretically they must have lived partly submerged in water, perhaps in swamps. Recent findings do not support this, and sauropods are thought to have been fully terrestrial animals.[38]

Diplodocids like Brontosaurus are often portrayed with their necks held high up in the air, allowing them to browse on tall trees. Though some studies have suggested that diplodocid necks were less flexible than previously believed,[39] other studies have found that all tetrapods appear to hold their necks at the maximum possible vertical extension when in a normal, alert posture, and argue that the same would hold true for sauropods barring any unknown, unique characteristics that set the soft tissue anatomy of their necks apart from that of other animals.[40]

Trackways of sauropods like Brontosaurus show that the average range for them was around 20–40 km (12–25 mi) per day, and they could potentially reach a top speed of 20–30 km (12–19 mi) per hour.[7] The slow locomotion of sauropods may be due to the minimal muscling or recoil after strides.[41]

Various uses have been proposed for the single claw on the forelimb of sauropods. They were suggested to have been for defence, but the shape and size of them makes this unlikely. Other predictions were that it could be for feeding, but the most probable is that the claw was for grasping objects like tree trunks when rearing.[11]

Physiology

James Spotila et al. (1991) suggest that the large body size of Brontosaurus and other sauropods would have made them unable to maintain high metabolic rates, as they would not be able to release enough heat. However, temperatures in the Jurassic were 3 degrees Celsius higher than present.[42] They assumed that the animals had a reptilian respiratory system. Wedel found that an avian system would have allowed them to dump more heat.[43] Some scientists have argued that the heart would have had trouble sustaining sufficient blood pressure to oxygenate the brain.[38]

Juveniles

Apatosaurus louisae juvenile sauropod dinosaur (Morrison Formation, Upper Jurassic; Sheep Creek, Albany County, southeastern Wyoming, USA)
Reconstructed skeleton of a juvenile B. parvus (type specimen CM 566), Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Juvenile Brontosaurus material is known based on the type specimen of B. parvus. The material of this specimen, CM 566, includes vertebrae from various regions, one pelvic bone, and some bones of the hind limb.[31]

Tail

An article that appeared in the November 1997 issue of Discover Magazine reported research into the mechanics of diplodocid tails by Nathan Myhrvold, a computer scientist from Microsoft. Myhrvold carried out a computer simulation of the tail, which in diplodocids like Brontosaurus was a very long, tapering structure resembling a bullwhip. This computer modeling suggested that sauropods were capable of producing a whip-like cracking sound of over 200 decibels, comparable to the volume of a cannon.[44]

Paleoecology

Brontosaurus NT small
Restoration of a B. excelsus group

The Morrison Formation is a sequence of shallow marine and alluvial sediments which, according to radiometric dating, ranges between 156.3 million years old (Mya) at its base,[45] and 146.8 Mya at the top,[46] which places it in the late Oxfordian, Kimmeridgian, and early Tithonian stages of the Late Jurassic period. This formation is interpreted as a semiarid environment with distinct wet and dry seasons. The Morrison Basin, where dinosaurs lived, stretched from New Mexico to Alberta and Saskatchewan, and was formed when the precursors to the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains started pushing up to the west. The deposits from their east-facing drainage basins were carried by streams and rivers and deposited in swampy lowlands, lakes, river channels, and floodplains.[47] This formation is similar in age to the Lourinha Formation in Portugal and the Tendaguru Formation in Tanzania.[48]

Brontosaurus may have been a more solitary animal than other Morrison Formation dinosaurs.[49] As a genus, Brontosaurus existed for a long span of time, and have been found in most levels of the Morrison. B. excelsus fossils have been reported from the upper Salt Wash Member to the upper Brushy Basin Member, ranging from the middle to late Kimmeridgian age, about 154–151 Mya. Additional remains are known from even younger rocks, but they have not been identified as any particular species.[34] Older Brontosaurus remains have also been identified from the middle Kimmeridgian, and are assigned to B. parvus.[31] Fossils of these animals have been found in Nine Mile Quarry and Bone Cabin Quarry in Wyoming and at sites in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utah, present in stratigraphic zones 2–6.[50]

The Morrison Formation records an environment and time dominated by gigantic sauropod dinosaurs.[50] Dinosaurs known from the Morrison include the theropods Ceratosaurus, Ornitholestes, and Torvosaurus, the sauropods Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Camarasaurus, and Diplodocus, and the ornithischians Camptosaurus, Dryosaurus, and Stegosaurus.[51] Other vertebrates that shared this paleoenvironment included ray-finned fishes, frogs, salamanders, turtles, sphenodonts, lizards, terrestrial and aquatic crocodylomorphans, and several species of pterosaurs. Shells of bivalves and aquatic snails are also common. The flora of the period has been revealed by fossils of green algae, fungi, mosses, horsetails, cycads, ginkgoes, and several families of conifers. Vegetation varied from river-lining forests of tree ferns, and ferns (gallery forests), to fern savannas with occasional trees such as the Araucaria-like conifer Brachyphyllum.[52]

In popular culture

Pasta-Brontosaurus
Outdated 1897 restoration by Charles R. Knight of B. excelsus submerged in water, and Diplodocus dragging its tail

The length of time taken for Riggs' 1903 reclassification of Brontosaurus as Apatosaurus to be brought to public notice, as well as Osborn's insistence that the Brontosaurus name be retained despite Riggs' paper, meant that the Brontosaurus became one of the most famous dinosaurs. In fact, Brontosaurus often appears as a synonym for Dinosaur itself. Brontosaurus has often been depicted in cinema, beginning with Winsor McCay's 1914 classic Gertie the Dinosaur, one of the first animated films.[53] McCay based his unidentified dinosaur on the apatosaurine skeleton in the American Museum of Natural History.[54] The 1925 silent film The Lost World featured a battle between a Brontosaurus and an Allosaurus, using special effects by Willis O'Brien.[55] These, and other early uses of the animal as major representative of the group, helped cement Brontosaurus as a quintessential dinosaur in the public consciousness.[56]

Sinclair Oil Corporation has long been a fixture of American roads (and briefly in other countries) with its green dinosaur logo and mascot, a Brontosaurus. While Sinclair's early advertising included a number of different dinosaurs, eventually only Brontosaurus was used as the official logo, due to its popular appeal.[57]

Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)

As late as 1989, the U.S. Postal Service caused controversy when it issued four "dinosaur" stamps: Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus, Pteranodon, and Brontosaurus. The use of the term Brontosaurus in place of Apatosaurus led to complaints of "fostering scientific illiteracy."[58] The Postal Service defended itself (in Postal Bulletin 21744) by saying, "Although now recognized by the scientific community as Apatosaurus, the name Brontosaurus was used for the stamp because it is more familiar to the general population." Indeed, the Postal Service even implicitly rebuked the somewhat inconsistent complaints by adding that "[s]imilarly, the term 'dinosaur' has been used generically to describe all the animals [i.e., all four of the animals represented in the given stamp set], even though the Pteranodon was a flying reptile [rather than a true 'dinosaur']," a distinction left unmentioned in the numerous correspondence regarding the Brontosaurus/Apatosaurus issue. Palaeontologist Stephen Jay Gould not only supported this position, but indeed, cheered and advanced it enough to not only name an essay, but even the entire book of which it is but a part Bully for Brontosaurus, stating: "Touché and right on; no one bitched about Pteranodon, and that's a real error."[56] His position, however, was not one suggesting the exclusive use of the popular moniker; he echoed Riggs' original argument that Brontosaurus is a synonym for Apatosaurus. Nevertheless, he noted that the former has developed and continues to maintain an independent existence in the popular imagination.[56]

The more vociferous denunciations of the usage have elicited sharply defensive statements from those who would not wish to see the name be struck from official usage.[56] Tschopp's study[4] has generated a very high number of responses from many, often opposed, groups - of editorial,[59] news staff,[32][60] and personal blog nature (both related[61][62] and not[63]), from both[64] sides of the debate, from related[65] and unrelated contexts, and from all over the world.[66]

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External links

9949 Brontosaurus

9949 Brontosaurus ( bron-tə-SAWR-əs), provisional designation 1990 SK6, is a stony asteroid from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, roughly 10 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 22 September 1990, by Belgian astronomer Eric Elst at ESO's La Silla Observatory in northern Chile. It was named after Brontosaurus, a genus of dinosaurs.

Amphicoelias

Amphicoelias (, meaning "biconcave", from the Greek ἀμφί, amphi: "on both sides", and κοῖλος, koilos: "hollow, concave") is a genus of herbivorous sauropod dinosaur that lived approximately 150 million years ago during the Tithonian (Late Jurassic Period) of what is now Colorado, United States. A herbivore, Amphicoelias was moderately sized at about 25 m (82 ft) long–roughly the same length as Diplodocus, to which it was related. Its hindlimbs were very long and thin, and its forelimbs were proportionally longer than in relatives.

The namesake fossil of the type species Amphicoelias altus, American Museum of Natural History 5764, is uncertain in included material. When described by Edward Drinker Cope shortly after its discovery in 1877, Amphicoelias was noted to include many back vertebrae, a single pubis, and a femur. However, after purchase and cataloging of the material by the AMNH, Henry Fairfield Osborn and Charles Mook described that the specimen had only two vertebrae, a pubis, femur, tooth, scapula, coracoid, ulna and a second femur. The additional material, not mentioned by Cope, was found close in proximity to the holotype and was similar to Diplodocus, a relative of Amphicoelias. Their assignment was questioned by subsequent authors Emanuel Tschopp et al. in an analysis of Diplodocidae.

During the description of Amphicoelias altus in 1877, Cope additionally named A. latus, for a femur and tail vertebrae. Following its description, Osborn and Mook in 1921 reidentified the material as a specimen of Camarasaurus, an assignment followed by other authors who reviewed the material. A year later 1878, Cope named the third species of Amphicoelias, A. fragillimus for a gigantic dorsal vertebra that was subsequently lost. Measuring approximately 2.7 m (8.9 ft) if reconstructed based on Diplodocus, early estimates for the length of the animal in life were between 40 and 60 m (130 and 200 ft) long. Due to the incomplete nature, such lengths–the longest of any known dinosaur and sauropod–were largely ignored. In 2018, Kenneth Carpenter renamed Amphicoelias fragillimus as the new genus Maraapunisaurus, and reclassified it from Diplodocidae to Rebbachisauridae.

Apatosaurinae

Apatosaurinae is the name of a subfamily of diplodocid sauropods that existed between 157 and 150 million years ago in North America. The group includes two genera for certain, Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus, with at least five species. Atlantosaurus and Amphicoelias might also belong to this group.Below is a cladogram of apatosaurinae interrelationships based on Tschopp et al., 2015.

Apatosaurus

Apatosaurus (; meaning "deceptive lizard") is a genus of herbivorous sauropod dinosaur that lived in North America during the Late Jurassic period. Othniel Charles Marsh described and named the first-known species, A. ajax, in 1877, and a second species, A. louisae, was discovered and named by William H. Holland in 1916. Apatosaurus lived about 152 to 151 million years ago (mya), during the late Kimmeridgian to early Tithonian age, and are now known from fossils in the Morrison Formation of modern-day Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah in the United States. Apatosaurus had an average length of 21–22.8 m (69–75 ft), and an average mass of 16.4–22.4 t (16.1–22.0 long tons; 18.1–24.7 short tons). A few specimens indicate a maximum length of 11–30% greater than average and a mass of 32.7–72.6 t (32.2–71.5 long tons; 36.0–80.0 short tons).

The cervical vertebrae of Apatosaurus are less elongated and more heavily constructed than those of Diplodocus, a diplodocid like Apatosaurus, and the bones of the leg are much stockier despite being longer, implying that Apatosaurus was a more robust animal. The tail was held above the ground during normal locomotion. Apatosaurus had a single claw on each forelimb and three on each hindlimb. The Apatosaurus skull, long thought to be similar to Camarasaurus, is much more similar to that of Diplodocus. Apatosaurus was a generalized browser that likely held its head elevated. To lighten its vertebrae, Apatosaurus had air sacs that made the bones internally full of holes. Like that of other diplodocids, its tail may have been used as a whip to create loud noises.

The skull of Apatosaurus was confused with that of Camarasaurus and Brachiosaurus until 1909, when the holotype of A. louisae was found, and a complete skull just a few meters away from the front of the neck. Henry Fairfield Osborn disagreed with this association, and went on to mount a skeleton of Apatosaurus with a Camarasaurus skull cast. Apatosaurus skeletons were mounted with speculative skull casts until 1970, when McIntosh showed that more robust skulls assigned to Diplodocus were more likely from Apatosaurus.

Apatosaurus is a genus in the family Diplodocidae. It is one of the more basal genera, with only Amphicoelias and possibly a new, unnamed genus more primitive. While the subfamily Apatosaurinae was named in 1929, the group was not used validly until an extensive 2015 study. Only Brontosaurus is also in the subfamily, with the other genera being considered synonyms or reclassified as diplodocines. Brontosaurus has long been considered a junior synonym of Apatosaurus; its only species was reclassified as A. excelsus in 1903. A 2015 study concluded that Brontosaurus is a valid genus of sauropod distinct from Apatosaurus, but not all paleontologists agree with this division. As it existed in North America during the late Jurassic, Apatosaurus would have lived alongside dinosaurs such as Allosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, and Stegosaurus.

Brontosaurus (song)

"Brontosaurus" is a song by rock group The Move, written, sung and produced by Move guitarist Roy Wood.

Brontosaurus Chorus

Brontosaurus Chorus was a London-based indie pop band. The group was formed by vocalist Jodie Lowther and bassist Dominic Green in 2006.

Bully for Brontosaurus

Bully for Brontosaurus (1991) is the fifth volume of collected essays by the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. The essays were culled from his monthly column "This View of Life" in Natural History magazine, to which Gould contributed for 27 years. The book deals, in typically discursive fashion, with themes familiar to Gould's writing: evolution and its teaching, science biography, and probabilities.

The title essay, "Bully for Brontosaurus", discusses the theory and history of taxonomy by examining the debate over whether Brontosaurus should be labelled Apatosaurus. In "Justice Scalia's Misunderstanding", Gould dissects and decisively rejects Antonin Scalia's dissent in the United States Supreme Court case Edwards v. Aguillard that overturned the last creationist statute in the country. Gould claimed his favourite essay to be "In a Jumbled Drawer" which discusses the debate between Nathaniel Shaler and William James over whether the improbability of our having evolved necessitates divine intervention (Gould, like James, argues no); the essay includes a letter from former President Jimmy Carter as a postscript, which discusses the issue.

The essay "Male Nipples and Clitoral Ripples" dealt with the issue of adaptive arguments. It derives from some work by Elisabeth Lloyd, whose subsequent 2005 book was dedicated to Gould (and her parents), and uses the case of the female orgasm to expand on the subject of adaptiveness in both depth and breadth.

Castle Toward

Castle Toward (Scottish Gaelic: Caisteal an Toll Àird) is a nineteenth-century country house on the southern tip of the Cowal peninsula, overlooking Rothesay Bay in Argyll and Bute on the west-coast of Scotland.

Built in 1820 by Glasgow merchant Kirkman Finlay, it replaced the late medieval Toward Castle, formerly the ancestral home of the Clan Lamont. It was greatly extended in the early 20th century, and in the Second World War it served as HMS Brontosaurus. After the war it was sold to Glasgow Corporation and was used as an outdoor education facility until its closure in 2014. After a failed community buyout, Toward Castle and the estate were sold by Argyll and Bute Council to private owners in 2016.

Diplodocidae

Diplodocids, or members of the family Diplodocidae ("double beams"), are a group of sauropod dinosaurs. The family includes some of the longest creatures ever to walk the Earth, including Diplodocus and Supersaurus, some of which may have reached lengths of up to 34 metres (112 ft).

Diplodocoidea

Diplodocoidea is a superfamily of sauropod dinosaurs, which included some of the longest animals of all time, including slender giants like Supersaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, and Amphicoelias. Most had very long necks and long, whip-like tails; however, one family (the dicraeosaurids) are the only known sauropods to have re-evolved a short neck, presumably an adaptation for feeding low to the ground. This adaptation was taken to the extreme in the highly specialized sauropod Brachytrachelopan. A study of snout shape and dental microwear in diplodocoids showed that the square snouts, large proportion of pits, and fine subparallel scratches in Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Nigersaurus, and Rebbachisaurus suggest ground-height nonselective browsing; the narrow snouts of Dicraeosaurus, Suuwassea, and Tornieria and the coarse scratches and gouges on the teeth of Dicraeosaurus suggest mid-height selective browsing in those taxa. This taxon is also noteworthy because diplodocoid sauropods had the highest tooth replacement rates of any vertebrates, as exemplified by Nigersaurus, which had new teeth erupting every 30 days.

Kaatedocus

Kaatedocus is a genus of diplodocine flagellicaudatan sauropod known from the middle Late Jurassic (Kimmeridgian stage) of northern Wyoming, United States. It is known from well-preserved skull and cervical vertebrae which were collected in the lower part of the Morrison Formation. The type and only species is Kaatedocus siberi, described in 2012 by Emanuel Tschopp and Octávio Mateus.

King Kong (2005 film)

King Kong is a 2005 epic monster adventure film co-written, produced, and directed by Peter Jackson. A second remake of the 1933 film of the same name, the film stars Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, and, through motion capture, Andy Serkis as the title character. Set in 1933, it follows the story of an ambitious filmmaker who coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to the mysterious Skull Island. There, they encounter bizarre creatures living on the island as well as a legendary giant gorilla known as Kong, whom they capture and take to New York City.

Filming for King Kong took place in New Zealand from September 2004 to March 2005. The project's budget climbed from an initial $150 million to a then-record-breaking $207 million. It was released on December 14, 2005 in Germany and the United States, and made an opening of $50.1 million. While it performed lower than expected, King Kong made domestic and worldwide grosses that eventually added up to $550 million, becoming the fourth-highest-grossing film in Universal Pictures history at the time and the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2005. It also generated $100 million in DVD sales upon its home video release.The film garnered positive reviews from critics and appeared on several top ten lists for 2005. It was praised for its special effects, performances, sense of spectacle and comparison to the 1933 original while some criticised its 3-hour run time. It won three Academy Awards: Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects.

Lanford Wilson

Lanford Wilson (April 13, 1937 – March 24, 2011) was an American playwright. His work, as described by The New York Times, was "earthy, realist, greatly admired [and] widely performed." Wilson helped to advance the Off-Off-Broadway theater movement with his earliest plays, which were first produced at the Caffe Cino beginning in 1964. He was one of the first playwrights to move from Off-Off-Broadway to Off-Broadway, then Broadway and beyond.

He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1980 and was elected in 2001 to the Theater Hall of Fame. In 2004, Wilson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a Master American Dramatist. He was nominated for three Tony Awards and has won a Drama Desk Award and five Obie Awards.

Wilson's 1964 short play The Madness of Lady Bright was his first major success and led to further works throughout the 1960s that expressed a variety of social and romantic themes. In 1969, he co-founded the Circle Repertory Company with theatre director Marshall W. Mason. He wrote many plays for the Circle Repertory in the 1970s. His 1973 play The Hot l Baltimore was the company's first major success with both audiences and critics. The Off-Broadway production exceeded 1,000 performances.

His play Fifth of July was first produced at Circle Repertory in 1978. He received a Tony Award nomination for its Broadway production, which opened in 1980. A prequel to Fifth of July called Talley's Folly (opened 1979 at Circle Repertory) opened on Broadway before Fifth of July and won Wilson the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and his first Tony nomination. Burn This (1987) was another Broadway success. Wilson also wrote the libretti for several operas.

Leinkupal

Leinkupal is a genus of diplodocine sauropod known from the Early Cretaceous (Late Berriasian to Early Valanginian stage) of the Bajada Colorada Formation, southeastern Neuquén Basin in the Neuquén Province of Argentina. It contains a single species, Leinkupal laticauda.

List of fictional dinosaurs

This list of fictional dinosaurs is subsidiary to the list of fictional animals and is a collection of various notable non-avian dinosaur characters that appear in various works of fiction. It is limited to well-referenced examples of dinosaurs in literature, film, television, comics, animation, video games and mythology, and applies only to non-avian dinosaur species that lived from the Triassic Period until the end of the Cretaceous.

Looking On

Looking On is the third album by The Move, released in the UK in December 1970. The LP is their first to feature Jeff Lynne, their first containing entirely original compositions, and the first on the Fly label, its catalogue number being FLY 1. It includes both their 1970 singles, the Top 10 hit "Brontosaurus," released on Regal Zonophone in March, and the less successful "When Alice Comes Back To The Farm," released on Fly in October.

Othniel Charles Marsh

Othniel Charles Marsh (October 29, 1831 – March 18, 1899) was an American paleontologist.

Marsh was one of the preeminent scientists in the field; the discovery or description of dozens of new species and theories on the origins of birds are among his legacies.

Born into a modest family, Marsh was able to afford higher education thanks to the generosity of his wealthy uncle George Peabody. After graduating from Yale College in 1860 he traveled the world, studying anatomy, mineralogy and geology. He obtained a teaching position at Yale upon his return. From the 1870s to 1890s he competed with rival paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope in a period of frenzied Western American expeditions known as the Bone Wars.

Sinclair Oil Corporation

Sinclair Oil Corporation is an American petroleum corporation, founded by Harry F. Sinclair on May 1, 1916, as the Sinclair Oil and Refining Corporation by combining the assets of 11 small petroleum companies. Originally a New York corporation, Sinclair Oil reincorporated in Wyoming in 1976. The corporation's logo features the silhouette of a large green dinosaur.

It is ranked on the list of largest privately-owned American corporations. It owns and operates refineries, gas stations, hotels, a ski resort and a cattle ranch.

Sludge (Transformers)

Sludge is a fictional character in the Transformers franchise. Sludge is a slow witted but powerful Dinobot. Sludge's strength is considered to be second only to Grimlock's in the Dinobot faction. Sludge also has the great power to shake the ground violently and make huge tremors when stomping around in his Brontosaurus mode, which is a good weapon for shaking up Decepticons. Sludge also was seen at times to shoot laser beams from his eyes and an energy weapon from his mouth. Sludge's biggest weakness is his belief that the strongest Autobot should lead and not necessarily the smartest. Another weakness of Sludge's is that he is depicted as being mentally slow. He joined the Autobots in the cartoon and comics in their first year, but didn't have a toy until 1985. The other members of the Dinobots are Slag, Snarl, Swoop, and their leader, Grimlock.

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