Although it’s among the most well-known dinosaurs ever, the Brontosaurus hasn’t been an officially recognized type of dinosaur since 1903.
Until now. A brand-new study published in the open access journal Peer J is hoping to restore the name Brontosaurus to the long-necked dinosaur.
Although the first Brontosaurus was classified in 1879 by famed paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh, later evaluations in 1903 by one Elmer Riggs suggested that the dinosaur was actually just a younger specimen of the closely related Apatosaurus. The confusion, claimed Riggs, was in the number of bones attaching the tail to the spinal cord. But a new analysis shows that this correction was probably incorrect.
Using computer algorithms to compare hundreds of anatomical characteristics, an international team of paleontologists carried out the largest-ever analysis of the Diplodocidae family — the family to which both the Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus belong. As a result, not only do the researchers suggest that the Brontosaurus genus should be resurrected, but they’ve also added a completely new subcategory of dinosaur — called a “genus” — to the family: the less catchily named, but equally stout-legged Galeamopus.
Long story short, the Brontosaurus is back and better than ever.