Brontosaurus is back and he’s bad

I was looking for a picture of Brontosaurus recently (some days you need Brontosaurus) and I made a horrifying discovery: according to random-guy-on-the-web, Brontosaurus hasn’t been a separate genus of dinosaur for over a hundred years.

You heard me. Brontosaurus as we know him does not exist.

According to my scientific study—asking myself, which dinosaurs can I think of?—Brontosaurus is one of the three dinosaurs everyone knows. The others, of course, being Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor. Thanks, Jurassic Park.

So I’m sure you can understand why I doubted that random-guy knew what he was talking about.

I went to the source of all wisdom, Wikipedia. (Don’t ask me for the link. You know where it is.)

Wikipedia concurs. Brontosaurus was discovered in 1879 and in 1903 Elmer Riggs in the Geological Series of the Field Columbian Museum argued that Brontosaurus was really just a small Apatosaurus. Riggs was writing the book, so I suppose his argument held some weight.

Scientists spent the next few decades piecing together dinosaur bones into Frankensaurs and disagreeing about what they’d made. Some of the pieces probably were from Brontosaurus, but that’s beside the point.

Brontosaurus must have been devastated.

What’s more, I can only imagine how bad a case of impostor syndrome he developed.  For over a hundred years, children drew pictures of big stupid beasts eating leaves and called them Brontosaurus, while Brontosaurus stood in the corner and thought, “I’m a fraud. What’ll happen when they discover I’m not real? I should tell them, but I can’t tell them because I like people thinking I’m real.”

Good news!

After over a hundred years of blushing and hiding his face, Brontosaurus is back. Scientists in 2015 did sciency stuff that shows that oops, they were right in 1879 and Brontosaurus is real after all.

Yay for Brontosaurus! He can finally show his face again.

Experts expect him to be reclassified by 2020. In the meantime, in expectation of his re-emergence, I’ve made Brontosaurus more kick-ass.

Meet Brontosauron.


Did anyone else know about Brontosaurus’ secret shame? What else do I think is real that isn’t?


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Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

12 thoughts on “Brontosaurus is back and he’s bad”

  1. Really! I was born in Pittsburgh and always heard that the Carnegie had put the wrong skull on the wrong body, and that was brontosaurus–a hybrid brachiosautus/apatosaurus, or something. So pleased to hear he’s back in the fold, now.

    1. I just couldn’t believe scientists decided he wasn’t a separate dinosaur almost as soon as they found him, given he’s everywhere in popular culture.

  2. I spent much of my six years as a teacher both trying to convince children there was no brontosaurus, AND feeling just like you describe the brontosaurus feeling, ie a big fraud. Weird.

    1. So there are teachers who did know about this. I’m impressed! None of my teachers ever told me.

      It’s funny you say that about being a teacher – it’s how I feel about being a blogger and a writer. We can all feel like frauds together. 🙂

  3. Whew. . . glad the brontosaurus has been returned to us. Do you know, by chance, the latest on Pluto – planet or no? 🙂

  4. Thank you for the news on Brontosaurus! I admit I didn’t know about this debate, but I’m convinced the brontostatus will be redefined by 2020. Scientists are like that; they can’t help it. I’m sure there are as many different Brontosaurus theories as there are paleontologists.

    1. I for one will be delighted when he gets his Brontostatus back. I hope there’s cake, and that after this the mean paleontologists leave him alone.

  5. Well this is news to me! I knew Brontosaurus had been summarily kicked out of the “cool dinosaurs that actually exist club,” but I didn’t know he was slated for re-entry! I suspect Brontosauron (love that, by the way) had something to do with it. I imagine even the boldest archaeologists would find a legion of orcs rather convincing no matter what they’re saying. Either way, grats to our impostor syndrome-afflicted Bronto buddy!

    1. That’s a very good point I hadn’t thought of. We should consider whether we can harness Bronto’s orcs to achieve anything else. I vote for turning Pluto back into a planet.

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