Tiny Brontosauruses

tiny brontosauruses

It took you a while to realize that?  Hmm, I determined pretty quickly that these were not “tiny Brontosauruses“, but then, I am a bit of a dinosaur nerd.

Here’s how you can tell that these aren’t “tiny Brontosauruses“.

  1. This is nitpicking, but they ought to be called Apatosauruses.  In 1877, fossil hunter extraordinaire Othniel Charles Marsh discovered the incomplete remains of an animal he named Apatosaurus, meaning “deceptive lizard”.  Two years later he discovered a more complete skeleton.  Believing the second skeleton to be from a different species, he named it Brontosaurus, or “thunder lizard”.  In 1903, paleontologist Elmer Riggs determined that Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus were actually the same animal.  Since Apatosaurus was named first, that name has priority; however, Brontosaurus was already established in the public lexicon.  The name Brontosaurus is commonly used as a synonym for Apatosaurus, so we can forgive the maker of this meme for the substitution.  Still, Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus are genus names, and ought to be capitalized and italicized.
  2. Apatosaurus’s neck did not have the S-curve shown in these animals; the dinosaur’s neck was held nearly parallel to the ground.  The upward incline of these animals’ “necks” is more reminiscent of Brachiosaurus.
  3. The upward projections on these animals are not necks anyway, but tails.  It didn’t take me long to realize that.  I’m not sure why the maker of the meme was stymied for so long.
  4. These are mammals.  Apatosaurus was not a mammal.
  5. All Apatosauruses (tiny or otherwise) went extinct about 150 million years ago.  The surroundings in this photograph (and the very human-looking legs just behind the “Brontosauruses”) suggest that it was taken much more recently than 150 million BC.  I mean, I don’t see a timestamp so I can’t be 100% certain.
  6. I’m pretty sure these animals are in fact coatis, a raccoon-like animal prevalent from the southwestern United States down to South America.

Now I know what you’re thinking: this meme was obviously intended as a joke, and I’m just being a curmudgeonly pedant for picking it apart.  Well, yeah…that’s what I do.  All things considered, this meme isn’t that terrible, but I can’t get past the opening line.  I know it didn’t take anybody that long to determine that these animals are not tiny Brontosauruses; why did the author think it would be funny to imply that it did?


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