The Brontosaurus Is Back
Now a new study suggests resurrecting Brontosaurus. Turns out the original Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus fossils appear different enough to belong to separate groups after all. “Generally, Brontosaurus can be distinguished from Apatosaurus most easily by its neck, which is higher and less wide,” says lead study author Emanuel Tschopp, a vertebrate paleontologist at the New University of Lisbon in Portugal. “So, although both are very massive and robust animals, Apatosaurus is even more extreme than Brontosaurus.”
The nearly 300-page study analyzed 477 different physical features of 81 sauropod specimens, involving five years of research and numerous visits to museum collections in Europe and the United States. The initial goal of the research was to clarify the relationships among the species making up the family of sauropods known as the diplodocids, which includes Diplodocus, Apatosaurus and now Brontosaurus.
The scientists conclude that three known species of Brontosaurus exist — Brontosaurus excelsus, the first discovered, as well as Brontosaurus parvus and Brontosaurus yahnahpin. Tschopp and his colleagues Octávio Mateus and Roger Benson detailed their findings online April 7 in the journal PeerJ.