Brontosaurus: the misunderstood dinosaur
During the beginning of the golden age of modern palaeontology, two prominent American palaeontologists, Edward Cope and Othniel Marsh, had a falling out over excavated dinosaur remains, with the men then proceeding to attempt to beat each other to unearth and describe new species of dinosaur. In this rush to become the foremost palaeontogist of the age, Marsh described first in 1877 and then later in 1879 two supposedly separate species of dinosaur. He named the first one Apatosaurus and called the second one Brontosaurus.
Following this, the name of Brontosaurus became world famous, with a complete skeleton mounted and displayed in the Peabody Museum, Yale, under the Marsh title in 1905. However, Marsh in his haste had made a terrible mistake. The Brontosaurus was actually just a fully-grown Apatosaurus and, since the Apatosaurus had been described first in 1877, its name took precedent, with ‘Brontosaurus’ made officially redundant in the early-20th century. Interestingly, however, as the Brontosaurus name had become firmly fixed in the public consciousness, it remained far more popular and is still in use to this day to the chagrin of many dinosaur experts.