Scientists classify living things, including animals, using a hierarchical system of names. The lowest two levels in this system are the Genus (which refers to a closely related group of animals), and the Species (animals so closely related that they can breed and produce fertile offspring). The Genus and Species are often used in combination to identify a particular animal (this is known as the "Scientific Name" or "Binomen") of the animal. This system of naming animals is known as "Binomial nomenclature".
Logical and simple though the name system is, the story of how Pachycephalosaurus got its name is a long and complicated one with many twists and turns. This is partly because early fossils were not always correctly identified as belonging to the animal, and partly because of mistakes made in identifying how the specimens were related to previously known dinosaurs. In the end, the mess was only cleared up when 1985 when Donald Baird successfully campaigned for the adoption of the name "Pachycephalosaurus" regardless of the fact the usual rules for zoological nomenclature would not allow it!
The modern story of Pachycephalosaurus begins in the 19th century, when fossils of the animal were found, but their origin remained uncertain. In 1872, Joseph Leidy identified the then-known fossils as belonging to the armor of a reptile or an armadillo-like animal (more than a century later these turned out to be a bone from the knobs on Pachycephalosaurus's skull).
The earliest name used to refer to the animal appears to be "Tylosteus", although exactly which animal it described was vague and perhaps a little uncertain (this is one reason why Baird was able to bypass the normal rules of zoological nomenclature more than a century later).
In 1931, Charles W. Gilmore examined the fossils, and incorrectly thought they belonged to a member of the Genus . He therefore suggested the name Troodon wyomingensis (Troodon from Wyoming).
In 1945, Barnum Brown and Erich Maren Schlaikjer, using newer and more complete specimens, established the Genus Pachycephalosaurus. They identified two species: Pachycephalosaurus reinheimeri and Pachycephalosaurus grangeri (although neither are generally recognized as distinct species today).
In 1985, Donald Baird successfully campaigned to get the officially recognized name of the Genus to be "Pachycephalosaurus", even though the normal rules of zoological nomenclature would dictate "Tylosteus". As a result of this the only species generally recognized today is Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis - combining the names chosen by Charles W. Gilmore and Barnum Brown
Here are some related pages on this website:
Please feel free to comment on this page:
Linking to This Page
We do hope that you find this site useful. We welcome people linking to this website or citing us.
Science Project Downloads
More Types of Dinosaurs
Copyright © 2008-2022, Answers 2000 Limited
Disclosure: Our company's websites' content (including this website's content) includes advertisements for our own company's websites, products, and services, and for other organization's websites, products, and services. In the case of links to other organization's websites, our company may receive a payment, (1) if you purchase products or services, or (2) if you sign-up for third party offers, after following links from this website. Unless specifically otherwise stated, information about other organization's products and services, is based on information provided by that organization, the product/service vendor, and/or publicly available information - and should not be taken to mean that we have used the product/service in question. Additionally, our company's websites contain some adverts which we are paid to display, but whose content is not selected by us, such as Google AdSense ads. For more detailed information, please see Advertising/Endorsements Disclosures
Click privacy for information about our company's privacy, data collection and data retention policies, and your rights.
CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON SERVICES LLC. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.
CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE,COMES FROM AMAZON EU S.à r.l. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.
In Association With Amazon.com
Answers 2000 Limited is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
In Association With Amazon.co.uk
Answers 2000 Limited is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.
As an Amazon Associate, our company earns from qualifying purchases. Amazon, the Amazon logo, Endless, and the Endless logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.
All trademarks are property of their respective owners.
All third party content and adverts are copyright of their respective owners.
Some graphics on our web sites are Copyright (C) 1997-2000 Hemera Technologies Inc., and used under license. All such pictures are provided for viewing purposes only and are not to be saved or downloaded. All such pictures of recognizable individuals are models and used for illustrative purposes only, and not meant to imply any association or endorsement of said individual with any product or service.