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Brontosaurus is back!

Scientists decide that Apatosaurus is a separate species.

Courtesy Peabody Museum of Natural HIstory

Courtesy Peabody Museum of Natural HIstory

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For years, there was no such thing as a Brontosaurus. Originally discovered and named by Yale paleontologist O. C. Marsh, Class of 1860, the “thunder lizard” was later determined to be the same as the Apatosaurus (another dinosaur discovered by Marsh). Since the Apatosaurus had been named first, Brontosaurus specimens—like the one at Yale’s Peabody Museum—had to be relabeled. But European researchers recently reexamined existing fossils and decided that Brontosaurus is in fact a separate species. Dinosaur lovers of a certain age are gratified. “I’m delighted,” says geology professor Jacques Gauthier, the Peabody’s curator of vertebrate paleontology and vertebrate zoology. “It’s what I learned as a kid.”

The next step for the Peabody is to update its Brontosaurus display. Besides swapping out the current Apatosaurus head for a Brontosaurus head, the museum will remount the skeleton with its tail in the air, in keeping with more recent dinosaur scholarship.

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