triceratops-jr-torosaurus-sr

Neil deGrasse Tyson had to make an entire documentary, The Pluto Files*, just to wipe his hands clean of the sad excuse for a former planet. His moon troubles on the other hand** documented here were, I thought, imagined by us at Sci-ence. But I just stumbled upon this clip.  Hilarious.

I’m going to claim this as life imitating art…in the past. <_<

Continuing last week’s  prehistory theme; I figure the fact that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs (which makes astrophysics tangentially involved in their affairs), gives me ample ground to introduce the ‘Neil deGrasse Tyson killed the Triceratops’ conspiracy. If it’s popular enough maybe we can get a documentary out of it. With Neil riding a velociraptor and telling us how the Triceratops is actually the juvenile version of what was originally classified as a separate genus, the Torosaurus. In hindsight kids of a new generation might say yeah, the Triceratops and the Torosaurus look pretty similar, But that’s never really good enough to make a call. In this case it was noticed*** that Triceratops skulls weren’t dense enough to be mature, while the Torosaurus skulls were. That and they found fossils showcasing different stages of growth from one to the other.
But don’t burn your copies of The Land Before Time just yet!! Turns out since the Triceratops was named first, not the Torosaurus, it gets to keep the name. Not so lucky is the Brontosaurus, which was just an Apatosaurus with a Camarasaurus head stuck on it. Trouble is this has been known for about 100 years but never really filtered down to the public. Also not helping: heavy pop culture usage of the Brontosaurus.

Y’know what, on second thought go ahead and burn those copies of Land Before Time either way.

 

This post was brought to you by Strontium (Sr).

*Check out the hate mail from third graders section!!
**that would be his third hand if you’re counting.
*** in 2010 by Paleontologists Jack Horner and Mark Goodwin
unless they are VHS copies. In that case burn them with fire. That medium is so dead it’s offensive. Why are they still laying around everywhere!?

Brontosaurus is now considered a synonym for Apatosaurus with the latter retaining name preference.