Stegosaurus Could Be the Latest Casualty of the ‘Bone Wars’


First the brontosaurus became the much less awesome-sounding Apatosaurus, then the three-horned triceratops turned out to be just a tween torosaurus, and now they’re coming after the stegosaurus. Peter Galton, a curator at Yale’s Peabody Museum, says the first stegosaur specimen is too incomplete to compare with other fossils, which would invalidate the genus name. The dinosaur dust-up is part of the nagging fallout from the “Bone Wars” a bitter race between rival nineteenth-century palaeontologists who engaged in bribery, theft, defamation, and bone destruction in order to discover and name the most dinosaurs. In some cases, Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Cope churned out papers ascribing names to fragmentary fossils. Give it to us straight: Were there ever any dinosaurs? No one tell Christine O’Donnell, okay?

Time to rebrand the stegosaur? [New Scientist]