The Brontosaurus, one of the most beloved dinosaurs by the children, has been reinstated as a separate genus and species by the scientific community. The reinstatement took place after being exiled for a hundred years. The genus was originally discovered by Paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh.
During the first few years of 1900s, paleontologists had actually believed that the genus Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus shared many similar qualities. This eventually led scientists to believe that Brontosaurus had no particular existence. Since the name Apatosaurus was given to that particular genus of dinosaurs (before Brontosaurus came up), the name continued. Thus, Brontosaurus had been exiled for these many years now.
But recent findings and a paper published in PeerJ suggests that Brontosaurus might have its own existence after all. But the issue of assigning new genus names yet prevails among paleontologists and others from the scientific community. There are no clear instructions as to when a particular animal or plant has to be assigned a new genus.
Co author of the paper, Roger Benson from University of Oxford had released a statement earlier yesterday. In the statement, he mentions that the genus Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus had “as numerous differences between them, as other closely related genera”. Also, the differences between them were much more than what would be normally found between the same species.
However, nothing can be stated for sure since it could be well possible that further information may banish Brontosaurus as well. This is primarily because new genus are assigned on the basis of how “distant” these species are from each other. Associate professor John Whitlock, from Mount Aloysius college believes that there needs to be clear rules on assigning new genus names.
According to the researchers, they were originally more inclined on studying Diplodocus and Apatosaurus and the similarities they share. The study was based on the analyzing of 81 different specimen and 477 different characteristics of themselves. The reinstatement of Brontosaurus had proved to be an unexpected bonus.