Message 2001-06-0114: RE: On naming taxa

Thu, 24 May 2001 18:32:40 -0700 (PDT)

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Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 18:32:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Jaime A. Headden" <>
Subject: RE: On naming taxa

George Olshevsky ( wrote:

<This is not even a "problem" in zoological nomenclature. Greg
Paul named a number of theropod taxa from new species on up in
Predatory Dinosaurs of the World. Although a few people got
worked up about this initially and made a problem out of it
where there was none, his book is now considered part of the
paleo literature and some of his taxa remain in use. Therewas
never any need to register his nomenclature, and there is no
need to register nomenclature in the literature at any time. All
publications eventually find their level without legislative

  Technically, George is right, but not for the exact reasons he
implies: The book as published is considered registered.
Pre-existing names are registered automatically, anyway, not
arbitrarily. The process of registration involves no human input
to cancelling the ability to apply a name in a publication, but
only to putting it into a database, and informing the author of
possible synonymy. No powers of "We can't allow you to publish
this because it might be synonymous with something else or
there's a name already in existence like that..." but to say
"there appears to be a pre-existing name like that, you may want
to change it;" synonymy is in the arbitrary eye of the beholder.

<From registration it is only a short step to exclusion, and I
see this as a great infringement of a worker's freedom to create
taxonomic names as needed in his or her work.>

  I can't see how registration will lead to exclusion. Could you
please explain how you feel this will happen. A hypothetical
scenario of registering the name in a spreadsheet style database
and publication can lead to exclusion of taxonomic work....

  Paul's Dinosaurs

  These are the theropodan taxa that Paul named in 1988 and/or
stem from the work or previously (publications include the
coelophysine study and velociraptorine study that had been
published elsewhere):

  Paleodinosauria (pg. 239)

  For the lagosuch and non-herrerasaur and non-staurikosaur taxa
now considered (by Novas, 1991) to be synonymous with the junior
synonym Dinosauromorpha, though not by definition but by
content. I would suggest reapplying Paul's name to Novas'
definiton, s even Novas regarded his use of Eudinosauria as a
junior synonym of Dinosauria itself (he assumed Herrerasauria
was outside of Saurischia + Ornithischia; the name may be
retained in redefined (so as not to be lost) as {Saurischia +
Ornithischia <- *Herrerasaurus*} being conditional on
herrerasaurs not being theropodan or saurischian (or
ornithischian) in nature).

  Lagosuchia (pg. 241)

  This assumes that *Marasuchus* (Paul's *Lagosuchus*),
*Lewisuchus* and *Lagerpeton* are each other's sister groups, or
close to them. The name (Lagosuchia) can be disfavored as a
synonym of Dinosauromorpha or Dimnosauriformes, under those
circumstances, or as a node taxon assuming the exclusive
membership of these taxa (= {*Marasuchus* + *Lewisuchus* +
*Lagerpeton*}); this is not favorable due to recent work by
Arcucci, Sereno, and Novas, who find these taxa arrayed radially
outside Dinosauria. Thus, the name still has probable usage.
Lagosuchinae and Lewisuchinae are named as well as part of
Lagosuchidae, again assuming each other are strict sister taxa
exclusive of *Lagerpeton* = {*Marasuchus* + *Lewisuchus* <-


  Presently a junior synonym by content of Staurikosauridae,
could be differentially defined. Paul used this to contain his
version of Staurikosauridae, which included *Pseudolagosuchus* [
which Arcucci (1991, Arcucci and Sereno, 1993, 1994) consider
outside of dinosaur and not close to *Staurikosaurus* or
*Herrerasaurus*, but the outgroup to Dinosauria sensu stricto,
and the stem in the definition of Dinosauriformes] as well as
*Ischisaurus*, which Novas considers a junior synonym of
*Herrerasaurus.* The name Staurikosauridae is useful though
polyphyletic in this sense.


  These are avian-style early dinosaurs, as Paul considered
*Protoavis* a basal dinosaur, but the content, as in his
Herrerasauridae, is probably polyphyletic. *Frenguellisaurus* is
a junior synonym of *Herrerasaurus* as of Novas, 1991,
*Aliwalia* is not well described and could be a lot of things,
and *Alwalkeria* (Paul's *Walkeria*) looks like a non-dinosaur
anyway (pers. obs., including some sphenosuchian synapomorphies
of the jaws). Herreravia is useful as the name uniting strictly
*Herrerasaurus* and *Protoavis*. Just a suggestion.


  Most non-avetheropod (=tetanuran) theropods. Polyphyletic by
recent phylogeny. In Paul's usage, this is the trend that
preceeds the advance of Avetheropoda, so is useful in some
senses. One may define this (by Paul's content) as =
{*Ceratosaurus + *Coelophysis* + *Spinosaurus*}.


  Essentially used to group megalosaurs, abelisaurs,
*Eustreptospondylus*, and *Iliosuchus* as non-paleotheropodan
and non-avetheropodan (but intermediate) dinosaurs. Abelisauria
is probably ceratosaurian and not similar to megalosaurs
specifically, whereas *Iliosuchus* appears to be a
tyrannosauroid relative ... *Eustreptospondylus* and
*Megalosaurus* (along with *Torvosaurus*) may be allies, but
with "paleotheropod" spinosaurids, so this group is polyphyletic
by present phylogenies; included are various other taxa such as
basal allosauroid *Piatnitzkysaurus,* sinraptorines (Paul's
Metriacanthosaurinae) and probable carnosaur *Gasosaurus*. The
group may be usefully defined as = {*Megalosaurus* +
*Eustreptospondylus* + *Yangchuanosaurus*} as the main
constituent taxa. Other taxa named are: Eustreptospondylidae,
and its internal stems, Eustreptospondylinae &
Metriocanthosaurinae, which may be defined as

    Eustreptospondylidae = {*Eustreptospondylus* +
    Eustreptospondylinae = {*Eustreptospondylus* <-
    Metriocanthosaurinae = {*Eustreptospondylus* ->

  Because *Metriacanthosaurus* is presently a nomen dubium, it
does not appear to be diagnostic to the degree to provide
suprageneric taxonomic foundation.


  This is a good name for the content Paul provides, =
{*Stokesosaurus* + *Iliosuchus*}.


  Holtz used this in 1995 and it has become fairly well


  Presently a junior synonym of Compsognathidae, and could
contain the Brazilian compsognath, *Aristosuchus* sensu Naish,
1999, and a refered specimen of *Sinosauropteryx.*


  Paul used this to group the tibia of *Calamospondylus* (his
*Aristosuchus*) and *Coelurus.* *Calamospondylus* is the
questionable taxon here, and *Coelurus* could be a maniraptoran.
Could be defined as = {*Coelurus* + *Calamospondylus*}. May be
synonymous with Coeluridae.


  Paul used Allosauria to contain *Ornitholestes* and
*Allosaurus* together, and Holtz has since defined Allosauroidea
without containing *Ornitholestes*. While the name Allosauria is
considered synonymous with Carnosauria, it can be defined
variously to reflect Paul's sense, as = {*Ornitholestes* +
*Allosaurus*}. Ornitholestinae is the differential stem taxon to
Allosaurinae, and the stem definition {*Ornitholestes* <-
*Allosaurus*} can be applied. He also included tyrannosaurs in
his Allosauria, so the definition can be offered {*Allosaurus* +
*Tyrannosaurus* + *Ornitholestes*}.

      Acrocanthosaurus? altispinax

  George coined the name *Becklespinax* (in use) for the
species, but Paul gives no distinction for his species from
Stovall and Langston's. I cannot see distinct features to unite
the two, and the vertebrae of *Becklespinax* themselves resemble
the "pectoral"--anterior dorsal vertebrae of *Baryonyx* and
somewhat *Torvosaurus*, so I'm inclined to think it's not even
tetanuran, much less *Acrocanthosaurus*.

      Aublysodon molnari
      Albertosaurus megagracilis

  These have been discussed.


  This name was useful, and the content is synonymous with
Sereno's definition of Maniraptora in connection with Padian et
al.'s for Eumaniraptora: the main inclusive taxa are
*Velociraptor,* *Oviraptor,* *Archaeopteryx,* *Troodon* and
*Avimimus* outside of Aves. Thus, whereas Maniraptora has been
defined (Chiappe, 1995) as {Aves <- *Ornithomimus*}, the group
{*Oviraptor* + *Velociraptor* + *Archaeopteryx* + *Troodon* +
*Avimimus* <- Aves} may be used inc ase these taxa ever truly
fall with each other instead of radially.

Jaime A. Headden

  Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Pampas!!!!

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