The Return of Thunder Lizard

The reclassification of dinosaurs to bring back the Brontosaurus raises other questions about scientific reclassification and revisionism.Back yonder in the nineteenth century, two scientists with mutual detestation, Cope and Marsh, were ambitiously trying to outdo each other in the "Bone Wars". That is, they spend money, time, and effort in trying to find and classify dinosaur bones. One of the most notable examples was the Brontosaurus ("thunder lizard", though much larger dinosaurs were discovered later that would have made bigger thunder when they walked than Bronto). But it had the wrong head. In 1903, the mistake was corrected and Apatosaurus ("deceptive lizard") was made. 

The story goes that the Brontosaurus never existed (for fun and more information on the Bone Wars, check out this yet-to-be-updated article at NPR). Funny how this is one of many things that evolutionists don't do very well in getting information to the public, since the Brontosaurus took a long time to fade from the scene — the US Postal Service issued a stamp of the thing in 1989. 

There are larger things than the Brontosaurus to consider, such as scientific classifications and labeling. A dinosaur isn't even a lizard (check the bodily placement difference between lizard legs and dinosaur legs, for one thing). Scientists dispute the definition of a species, and whether or not to classify something as a separate species. Now paleontologists are wondering about their systems of classifying genus and species in their work as well. Not that a dinosaur would care what you called it. I can call a standarbred horse an American quarter horse, but it won't change what it really is, and Silver won't care what you call him.

There may be some scientific revisionism in the air, though.
With the resurrection of Brontosaurus as a valid dinosaur name after a century of repudiation, what’s a kid to think? Thoughts on science’s arbitrary and tentative nature.

Eight-year-olds used to brag about correcting their parents who said “Brontosaurus.” The correct name is “Apatosaurus,” the kid would be quick to say. Now the parent has a comeback: Brontosaurus is a valid name for some of the members of the Diplodocidae, according to a new reclassification of the giant sauropods by a team led by Emanuel Tschopp from Nova University of Lisbon, according to Nature. His team studied all the known fossils of the beasts and concluded that Edward Cope’s name Brontosaurus (“thunder lizard”) is valid, because there are enough distinguishable traits to distinguish it from Othniel Marsh’s earlier find that he had named Apatosaurus (“deceptive lizard”).

Tschopp says he did not start out to resurrect Brontosaurus, but his team’s analysis decided enough differences warranted the reversal. “The Smithsonian Institution accused USPS of favoring ‘cartoon nomenclature to scientific nomenclature,’” Michael Balter writes in Science Magazine. “It didn’t help that the stamps were officially launched at Disney World.” The cartoonists may have the last laugh. Undoubtedly some parents will enjoy rubbing it in to their kids: “See? I was right!” dad will say. “We were both right!” may be the retort.
To finish reading, stomp on over to "Of Brontosaurus, Cartoons, and Revisionism".