STL Science Center

STL Science Center

18 April 2015

Not Allosaurus

Piatnitzkysaurus has been compared to Allosaurus at least once that has been noted. There are some similarities between the two dinosaurs, however they are not identical or close to identical by any means. Both dinosaurs were agile in appearance and actual morphology. This means that both dinosaurs had the ability to run down their prey. Additionally, the forelimbs were longer than many later theropods and strong enough to adequately grapple with larger prey items. These could have included, for Piatnitzkysaurus, iguanodontids and sauropods. The teeth of Piatnitzkysaurus are average for a theropod of this size; they are robust and would have made good puncturing devices, but grappling prey and running it down was probably the main hunting tactic for this medium sized carnivore. Considering its size it may have, as Allosaurus is thought to have, hunted the largest sauropod prey in small impromptu packs organized during migration seasons. This, of course, is just an unsubstantiated hypothesis however.

17 April 2015

Born in Russia

The Russian born paleontologist and geologist Alejandro Mateievich Piatnitzky has been immortalized by being the namesake of an Argentinian dinosaur, Piatnitzkysaurus floresi. Named in 1979 (with remains collected in 1977, 1982, and 1983) by Napoleon Bonaparte, this Middle Jurassic dinosaur was a midsized carnivore that highly resembled Allosaurus. The resemblance was noted nearly twenty years ago, but it has not run into any kind potential lumping situations. We will have to look at this comparison during this week as we look at the story of the dinosaur and its history.
©Nobu Tamura

16 April 2015

Selling Itself

Brontosaurus sells itself. As Apatosaurus it also sold itself, but the idea of Brontosaurus has obviously brought back the dinosaur itself for a ridiculously large audience. Probably the best way of showing how Brontosaurus has impacted popular culture is to show the original dinosaur movie:

15 April 2015

Why Is It Different?

The list of differences between Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus are actually alarmingly small. That is the reason, of course, that the two were made synonymous in 1903. Those differences that have been discussed as differing enough to cause the second separation of the taxa are still just as slight. The single character that the PeerJ flow chart makes a large deal out of is the shape of the bifurcation of the neural spines on the vertebrae. The Brontosaurus neural spines appear to have a sharper angle of bifurcation and a shorter vertebra as a whole. The Apatosaurus vertebrae are less acute in their neural spine angles and appear larger and flatter as a result. The heads of the two dinosaurs are believed to be extremely similar, perhaps identical. Their pelves have no significant differences either when viewed as a whole; smaller differences may exist on the individual bones of the pelvis of course. Those that read the paper yesterday are aware of the evidence that was used to describe the split between the two, so going in depth here should not be necessary.

14 April 2015

The Only Paper That Matters

There are an absolute plethora of papers about Brontosaurus, Apatosaurus, and why they are and are not the same dinosaurs. The only paper that I am going to link and recommend to everyone today is the most recent paper that was published last week. The PeerJ article is available free online and has the ability for the reader to leave comments on different parts of the article. Enjoy the read, and definitely discuss below.

13 April 2015

Factfinding Journalism Wins Today

DNews did a great job of addressing all of the media frenzy of last week around Brontosaurus. My job here is done.

12 April 2015

Not Lost

For the most part kids never actually lost Brontosaurus. Many of the sources for dinosaur information still listed Brontosaurus as a valid name or, at the very most listed it in parentheses as Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus). That is why the majority of sites that we can reference today mention or are titled Apatosaurus (with the exception of the misspelled "Apotosaurus" of KidsDigDinos). The New Zealand hosted Science Kids hosts a good encyclopedia style page and Animals for kids parallels and maybe even outdoes this. The black and white search of images turns up a plethora of coloring sheets that can be used to make your own thunder lizard.