June 14, 2013
Storytime took me out of my pre-historic days and into the present. Remember when we had five basic dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Pterodactyl, and the Brontosaurus. We knew there were other dinosaurs, but their names only mattered to dino-fanatics.
For storytime, I decided that we would make a Brontosaurus for the Summer Reading Program. So, I started doing some research and found out that Brontosauruses are imaginary. Apparently, they only existed in our minds for a short time in the late 1800s and early 1900s. A paleontologist, Marsh, was in a bitter competition with a rival paleontologist to discover and name dinosaurs. Marsh had found a skeleton of a large plant eater (sauropoda) and named it Apatosaurus. Two years later, Marsh found a much larger skeleton missing the skull and the end of its tail. In his rush to name dinosaurs, he determined this to be a new sauropoda, used a skull he knew was incorrect, and named it Brontosaurus. It was put on display in 1905 with the wrong skull and labeled Brontosaurus. In 1975, two scientists proved that the skeleton was the adult of the previous named Apatosaurus.
People have fallen in love with the Brontosaurus and continue to use the name. It stands for "Thunder Lizard." I agree, it is a much cooler name than Apatosaurus, which ironically means "Deceptive Lizard."
Red Bridge Branch