STEM News & Research
Looks as if the Brontosaurus is going to make a proper, scientific comeback, after a study found that it is in fact distinctly different from Apatosaurus. Woot! I always felt sad for old Bronty!
The scientists analysed 81 skeletons and measured around 477 anatomical traits to create a new evolutionary family tree. Statistically, two main groups emerged: one containing more slender species, such as Diplodocus, and a second containing the bulkier Apatosaurus. Within the Apatosaurus group, though, further considerable distinctions were found. Apatosaurus had a thicker neck than the original Brontosaurus specimens, and differences were seen in the shape of their shoulder blades and ankle bones, according to the PeerJ report.
“The differences we found between Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus were at least as numerous as the ones between other closely related genera, and much more than what you normally find between species,” said Roger Benson, a co-author from the University of Oxford.
That's really nice news .
It does make me wonder, though, whether that level of work would have been supported if it didn't have the potential to resurrect a beloved name. Would people trying to better understand a more obscure group of dinosaurs be able to do similar work? It's one reason I have such little faith in estimates of past biodiversity.
It was actually a side effect of a broader piece of work, so wasn't influenced by how beloved the brontosaurus is.
That's good, but my concerns about diversity measurements still stand!