Did I Imagine Brontosaurus?

Katherine is now enthralled with all thing dinosaur.  As we have gone through the various books and toy sets, I am reminded of most of my favorite dinosaurs from my childhood.

They are all there: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Brontosaurus. Actually, no, there is no mention of Brontosaurus in any of the books.  Did I imagine this dinosaur?

Tonight, I looked it up and sure enough, Brontosaurus is no more.  I found a lot of information about why in the article, The Brontosaurus Brouhaha.

In summary, it explains how the dinosaur named Apatosaurus was discovered and named before Brontosaurus and that later on it was determined that Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus were really the same thing.  It’s actually a very interesting story to read.

So now I know why Brontosaurus isn’t in my daughter’s toys, but I have more questions now. Here are things that are still unanswered to me:

  1. Brontosaurus is really Apatosaurus, but why is it that none of the books I have seen mention a dinosaur by that name either? Is it too controversial? Or is it no longer the coolest sauropod?
  2. Encyclopedia Britannica declared Brontosaurus officially invalid in 1974, yet all of the books and toys I had still had him in them. I was born in 1974.  Were my books and toys that old?
  3. What other things are being made up with today’s dinosaurs? The story of Marsh and the Brontosaurus is one partly born of ego and of human fallacy. The human brain fills in gaps with patterns it is familiar with. I think this is partially why Marsh ended up with the version of the Brontosaurus head that he used.
  4. Is Diplodocus really just a visualization of Brachiosaurus that has poor posture?
  5. Do we actually have more concrete evidence about the existence of Barney the Dinosaur than T-Rex?

1 comment for “Did I Imagine Brontosaurus?

  1. December 22, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    It makes you wonder what will next disappear!