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Re: Another simple question (I think)



Randy wrote:

>At Dinosaur Park, they used abbreviations I thought I understood, but now
>have doubts about the specifics.
>
>In their classifications, they list the genus and species usually.  Its
>the exceptions that threw me.
>
>One listing was:   Pachycephalasaurus n. gen., n. sp.

>another:  Tyranasaurid n. sp.

n. gen. = new genus
n. sp. = new species


If the designation was Tyranasaurid n. sp., this means that the specimen,
although belonging to a new species, has not yet been validly named. This
means that a complete description of the specimen listing the defining
characteristics has not yet been published.
If the designation was something like Tyranasaurid randyi n. sp., then the
species has been validly published and the name tag is pointing out that it
has only recently be identified as a new species.

>>another  Somethingasaurid sp.

sp. = species

This means that the specimen belongs in the genus _Somethingasaurid_ but
cannot be classified more accurately. For example suppose there were two
species in the genus _Somethingasaurid_, _Somethingasaurid kingi_ and
_Somethingasaurid queeni_ and the distinquishing characteristic was the
shape of a particular bone. Now, if a specimen is found which conforms to
the description of _Somethingasaurid_, but is missing that particular bone,
it cannot be placed in either kingi or queeni, therefore it is left as
_Somethingasaurid_ sp. (in other words _Somethingasaurid_ sp. = "it belongs
in the genus _Somethingasaurid_, but your guess is as good as mine as to
which species").

Alternatively there is the situation which I am in. I have what I know to
be a new species of _Anomalocaris_, however I also know that more complete
specimens are available elsewhere (I only have the appendage, they have a
body as well). Since the formal naming of the species should include the
most detailed description of the defining characteristics, I will not be
attempting to name it and have referred to it as _Anomalocaris_ sp.

Chris

cnedin@geology.adelaide.edu.au
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