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Sereno et al. and African dinosaurs



When Ralph Chapman reported on the March 24th issue of _Science_, he
neglected to mention at least two other pieces of potential interest,
(just skimming the thing, eh, Ralph? :-) :-)

On pages 1750-1754 there are letters to the editor about Sereno et
al.'s paper describing _Afrovenator_.  First, George Olshevsky
complains about the name "Torvosauroidea", claiming that Sereno et
al. should have used "Spinosauroidea" to remain in accordance with the
rules of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.  Sereno et
al. concede, so (in my understanding) Torvosauroidea is now a junior
subjective synonym of Spinosauroidea, the more properly named taxon.

Second, Eric Buffetaut and Gilles Cuny argue that Sereno et al. argued
too strongly about the novelty of some of their findings, and also
that the still unnamed sauropod should be referred to _Rebbachisaurus
tamesnensis_.  Sereno et al. don't give in so easily on these points,
and on the latter go so far as to claim that new genus and species
names must be coined for their sauropod.

Also, page 1763 contains a brief account, written by Antonio Regalado,
of the conclusion of the BHI criminal proceedings.  There wasn't much
there that you didn't already hear here, but there were two things I
thought I'd bring up.  One is that (perhaps in a bit of face-saving
grandiloquence?) U.S. Attorney David Zuercher claimed that for the
infractions for which the group was found guilty, "It is likely that
.. they will go to jail."  The other is that, in an opinion that
doesn't seem to have been aired much around here, the article claims
that "academic paleontologists" hope that the verdicts will "rein
collectors in".  Mind you that I'm only interested in raising this
issue in the hopes of fostering collaboration and understanding by all
parties concerned.  I don't want to see any flames erupting over what
is clearly a volatile issue.  But I do think this list can help to
form bridges between people that might otherwise see themselves as
opponents.  Any brave souls want to chime in with their thoughts of
the significance of the trial's outcome?

-- 
Mickey Rowe     (rowe@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu)