For more than a hundred years, the Brontosaurus, has been pictured incorrectly in every dinosaur book, school textbook, advertisement, science fiction movie, and natural history museums around the world. It took two researchers one from Carnegie Museum of Natural History David Berman and John McIntosh from Wesleyan University, to prove conclusively that the skeletons of Brontosaurus in five museums including Carnegie, were given wrong heads.
In 1979, David Berman and John McIntosh revealed to the Press the fact that supposed authoritative description of the Brontosaurus given by renowned paleontologist Dr O.C. Marsh of Yale was based on a headless skeleton. Marsh actually used a head (skull) that was found three or four miles away from the skeleton in another quarry. But this information never got out. But david Berman exposed this hidden information in an article titled, “Scientists Claim Brontosaurus Given Wrong Head”, (Pittsburgh : Associated Press, October 10, 1979).
The new head given to Brontosaurus shows it was actually a type of Diplodocus. Its skeletal characteristics are practically identical to those of Diplodocus. The more delicate skull sports rather fragile- looking, pencil-like teeth. But once the mistake was discovered, they realized that the skull belonged to a previously discovered dinosaur Apatosaurus, and therefore did not deserve the new name of Brontosaurus. It is not too difficult to realize that the Brontosaurus with another dinosaur’s head “never existed”.
There is a number of lessons to be learned from “The case of the wrong skull dinosaur”.
1. The Brontosaurus error might of never have come to light, had it not been for the perseverance of researchers Berman and McIntosh.
2. The “bone wars” between rival paleontologists is what caused this because of intentional dishonesty to out do each other.
3. Sometimes fossil specimens are exaggerated or falsified to satisfy the public’s common desire for sensationalism.
4. One can imagine how slow a museum might be to change an exhibit which promotes theories of evolution and not creation.
5. How many new dinosaur discoveries that are found, might be actually old discoveries of dinosaurs with new bones added. Some fossil dinosaur skeletons are actually made up of two or more dinosaurs fossils to make one dinosaur.
6. Nobody question Marsh about his discovery of a new dinosaur, because he was considered an expert in paleontology and worked with Yales Peabody Museum were he displayed the first Brontosaurus.
7. Sometimes change takes a long time. in the case of the Brontosaurus, it took more than 70 years to finally put the right head on their fossilized skeleton. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has their Apatosaurus with the right head on it. Unfortunately there is still some museums that have a Brontosaurus with its wrong head.