A question about Brontosaurus

In the recent column , regarding the Brontosaurus ,Cecil’s says

I thought that Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus are the same genus. Am I mistaken ?

I’m afraid you are. They are the same species.

Yes, you are wrong.

To rephrase the column, first Apatasaurus was found and named. Then Marsh discovered a set of bones, found a head for it, and determined that the collective set was similar to Apatasaurus, but different enough to warrant being a new species. Thus he named it Brontosaurus.

Eventually other scientists uncovered the funny business with the head and determined that the “Brontosaurus” was just another set of Apatasaurus bones with the wrong head on it.

IANA Biologist but the first critter unearthed was called Apatosaurus ajax and the second, bigger one was called Brontosaurus excelsus. Now they are called Apatosaurus ajax and *Apatosaurus excelsus *.

I guess I was confused since this would suggest that they are of the same genus but are two different species.

High school biology was a long time ago. :smack:

Brontosaurus was, indeed, a different species from the previously-described Apatosaurus. As you note, the original was A. ajax, while the second was B. excelsus. When Brontosaurus was synonymized with Apatosaurus, the species epithets were retained, so B. excelsus became A. excelsus.

So, contrary to Cecil and the previous posters, you are correct - the animal previously classified as Brontosaurus is now in the same genus as Apatosaurus ajax, but is of a different species.

Okay, thank you for the correction.