31 December 2013
Histology and History
Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus alike have long histories in the literature. The most modern scientific inquiries into Apatosaurus have looked at ontogeny through histology, amongst other avenues of research including CT scanning. Specimens of Apatosaurus are, thankfully, continually discovered throughout the Morrison Formations faces in the American Southwest and allow for these sorts of opportunities as well as the description of these new specimens. Sometimes the descriptions of specimens is limited to specific portions of Apatosaurus, which makes sense given that it is such a large animal and that the remains are sometimes fragmentary; as is the case with any fossil remains as we all know. One fragment, just for an example, that has been described independently is a portion of lower jaw and the palate of a Diplodocus and a comparison of this to the skull of Apatosaurus; the paper is older, but it is a quality description and comparison of sauropod skulls. If we want to go back to the first description, though, and we do because we enjoy reading historical accounts, we have to go back to Marsh's 1877 publication in the American Journal of Science that first mentioned Apatosaurus and subsequent descriptions of Apatosaurus like that found in 1879's Principal characters of American Jurassic dinosaurs. Part II (Brontosaurus is also mentioned in the 1879 publications).