brontosaurus(redirected from brontosauruses)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
Related to brontosauruses: Apatosaurus excelsus
bron·to·saur·us(brŏn′tə-sôr′əs) or bron·to·saur (brŏn′tə-sôr′)
[New Latin Brontosaurus, former genus name : Greek brontē, thunder + Greek sauros, lizard.]
(Animals) any very large herbivorous quadrupedal dinosaur of the genus Apatosaurus, common in North America during Jurassic times, having a long neck and long tail: suborder Sauropoda (sauropods)
[C19: from New Latin, from Greek brontē thunder + sauros lizard]
bron•to•sau•rus(ˌbrɒn təˈsɔr əs)
n., pl. -sau•rus•es, -sau•ri (-ˈsɔr aɪ)
brontosaur (def. 1).
bron·to·sau·rus(brŏn′tə-sôr′əs) or bron·to·saur (brŏn′tə-sôr′)
An earlier name for apatosaurus.
Word History Take a little deception, add a little excitement, stir them with a century-long mistake, and you have the mystery of the brontosaurus. Specifically, you have the mystery of its name. For 100 years this 70-foot-long, 30-ton vegetarian giant had two names. This case of double identity began in 1877, when bones of a large dinosaur were discovered. The creature was dubbed apatosaurus, a name that meant "deceptive lizard" or "unreal lizard." Two years later, bones of a larger dinosaur were found, and in all the excitement, scientists named it brontosaurus or "thunder lizard." This name stuck until scientists decided it was all a mistake—the two sets of bones actually belonged to the same type of dinosaur. Since it is a rule in taxonomy that the first name given to a newly discovered organism is the one that must be used, scientists have had to use the term apatosaurus. But "thunder lizard" had found a lot of popular appeal, and many people still prefer to call the beast brontosaurus.
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|Noun||1.||brontosaurus - huge quadrupedal herbivorous dinosaur common in North America in the late Jurassic|
sauropod, sauropod dinosaur - very large herbivorous dinosaur of the Jurassic and Cretaceous having a small head a long neck and tail and five-toed limbs; largest known land animal