brontosaurus ( apatosaurus )

Pronunciation key

( bron′tə-sô-rəs )



[bronto thunder + Gr. sauros].


Large, extinct American dinosaur which thrived during the Jurassic Period and had a long, slender neck, small head and thick tapering tail.

"In 1877, Othniel Charles Marsh described a dinosaur on the basis of very incomplete remains, a dinosaur that he named Apatosaurus. Two years later he described another dinosaur from an almost complete skeleton and named it Brontosaurus. The skeleton was assembled and mounted for display in the Yale Peabody Museum and became very well known to the public. There were pictures of it in books, newspaper articles and magazines, always labeled as Brontosaurus. In 1903 Elmer Riggs re-examined the original Apatosaurus material and realized that it had come from the same sort of dinosaur as Brontosaurus. Since the name Apatosaurus was published first, technically it is the proper scientific name for the animal. However, by the time Riggs published his study, the name Brontosaurus had become so firmly entrenched in the public mind that the animal continues to be called Brontosaurus in the popular press."


  • Why did they change the name of Brontosaurus to Apatosaurus?
  • Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (College Edition) ©1955
  • Apatosaurus, Yale University
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