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The Recapitation of Apatosaurus

  • David S Berman (a1) and John S. McIntosh (a2)

Extract

In 1915 the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's magnificent skeleton of the sauropod dinosaur Apatosaurus louisae, discovered in 1909 at what is now Dinosaur National Monument in northeastern Utah, took its place alongside the equally impressive skeleton of Diplodocus carnegii in the Hall of Dinosaurs. At that time and for the next 17 years, however, it stood conspicuously headless. It was not until December of 1932 that the skeleton was completed, and then with the wrong head—a Camarasaurus skull. How this came about and how the error was corrected requires the untangling of a long series of events that began with the first discoveries and descriptions of the giant sauropod dinosaurs of North America over a century ago.

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Berman, D. S, and McIntosh, J. S. 1978. Skull and relationships of the Upper Jurassic sauropod Apatosaurus (Reptilia, Saurischia). Bulletin of Carnegie Museum of Natural History, no. 8, 35 pp.
Cope, E. D. 1877. On a gigantic saurian from the Dakota Epoch of Colorado. Paleontological Bulletin, 25:510.
Gilmore, C. W. 1925. A nearly complete articulated skeleton of Camarasaurus, a saurischian dinosaur from the Dinosaur National Monument, Utah. Memoirs of Carnegie Museum, 10:347384.
Gilmore, C. W. 1936. Osteology of Apatosaurus with special reference to specimens in the Carnegie Museum. Memoirs of Carnegie Museum, 11:175300.
Holland, W. J. 1906. The osteology of Diplodocus Marsh. Memoirs of Carnegie Museum, 2:225264.
Holland, W. J. 1915. Heads and tails; a few notes relating to the structure of the sauropod dinosaurs. Annals of Carnegie Museum, 9:273278.
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Marsh, O. C. 1896. Dinosaurs of North America. Annual Report, U. S. Geological Survey, Pt. I, 16:133244.
McIntosh, J. S., and Berman, D. S. 1975. Description of the palate and lower jaw of the sauropod dinosaur Diplodocus (Reptilia: Saurischia) with remarks on the nature of the skull of Apatosaurus . Journal of Paleontology, 49:187199.
Osborn, H. F. 1889. Additional characters of the great herbivorous dinosaur Camarasaurus . Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 10:219253.
White, T. E. 1958. The braincase of Camarasaurus lentus (Marsh). Journal of Paleontology, 32:477494.

The Recapitation of Apatosaurus

  • David S Berman (a1) and John S. McIntosh (a2)

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