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Dinotyrannus and others



Publishers on occasion inadvertently screw up the validity of taxonomic names
when they mess with those parts of a manuscript in which new taxa are
proposed. This doesn't happen often with scientific publishers, who are
accustomed to dealing with nomenclatural acts, but publishers of other kinds
of works are, I imagine, more prone to do this.

For example, Baron Nopcsa almost lost the name _Teinurosaurus_, which he
established for a theropod caudal vertebra from France in a footnote to a
1928 systematic list. The publisher attached the footnote to the genus
_Saurornithoides_ instead, making it look as if Nopcsa were proposing that
name, actually coined by Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1924, as new. Nopcsa
corrected the error in a note in 1929, but the note was overlooked by Huene,
who proposed the name _Caudocoelus sauvagei_ for the same specimen. I thought
that was generally unfair to Nopcsa and sank _Caudocoelus_ as a junior
synonym of _Teinurosaurus_, retaining the new combination _Teinurosaurus
sauvagei_ for the species to which the caudal vertebra belongs. This was done
in _Mesozoic Meanderings_ #1 in 1978, and the correction is generally
accepted by dinosaurologists (even though the specimen itself is scrappy).

In a more recent example, Currie, Rigby & Sloan proposed the name
_Ricardoestesia gilmorei_ in their 1990 article on theropod teeth in the
_Dinosaur Systematics_ book by Cambridge University Press. Unfortunately,
some bozo typographer globally changed the spelling of the genus to
_Richardoestesia_ (with an extra "h") throughout the whole paper, thereby
costing it that Ameghinian Latin charm that the authors wished to convey. I
well recall Bob Sloan's irritation when I pointed the error out to him at the
San Diego SVP meeting in 1991. Fortunately, the name remained spelled
_Ricardoestesia_ in ONE figure caption in the article, which according to the
Code is sufficient evidence that a typo was committed. As first revisor, I
selected the spelling _Ricardoestesia_ for the genus in the 1992 printing of
_Mesozoic Meanderings_ #2, and that is now the "officially" valid spelling.

Now something similar has been done by Gakken to three new genera, as well as
a subfamily and four tribes, I proposed in my review of Tyrannosauridae,
which appeared in _Dino-Frontline_ #9 and 10. Because of space limitations,
they failed to include the separate descriptions I prepared for the genera.
The Code says generic names must be published in Latin, and they do appear in
Latin in both parts of my article, but only in figure captions and a
cladogram. There is, however, enough descriptive matter in the text of the
articles as published (as far as I know, they translated all the main text I
submitted) to satisfy the Code's requirements for descriptions of the new
taxa (such as the naming of type species and so forth) even without the
separate descriptions. The trouble is, the Latin names do not appear anywhere
in the main text, and a non-Japanese reader would be hard put to figure out
what is going on. The Code recommends that new descriptive matter be
summarized (Recommendation 13A), which I did--but it does not compel the
publisher to publish it this way.

Another issue is authorship of the articles. I write every comma myself, but
still they persist in making Tracy Ford a junior co-author. Tracy draws most
of the pictures for each article, but this is not co-authorship, as I am sure
he would be the first to agree. The articles are submitted with me as the
sole author. I don't mind sharing credit with him, because he's a very good
friend, so I have not made an issue of it with Gakken. But authorship of the
new taxa should be cited as Olshevsky 1995 or, at least, as Olshevsky in
Olshevsky & Ford 1995.

I believe I could make a good case that the new genera are validly published
and available as of _Dino-Frontline_ #9 and the other taxa as of #10, in the
very unlikely circumstance that it comes to a formal ruling by the ICZN.
Proper type species are designated for each genus in the body of the article,
and they are differentiated from related genera there, too. Whether or not
the descriptions are GOOD is irrelevant to the status of the names themselves
(I happen to think they're okay).

This business is one of several reasons I prefer to publish my own stuff.
Then I have no one else to blame if it comes out wrong--and it seldom does.
The trouble is, self-publishing doesn't earn enough to make a living the way
it did when I was producing comic fanzines, so I guess I have to put up with
these irritations every so often.

The next time I publish the Gakken tyrannosaurid taxa will be in the theropod
section of the third printing  of _Mesozoic Meanderings_ #2. This will be in
English, and I will include the summaries of the descriptions of _Jenghizkhan
bataar_, _Dinotyrannus megagracilis_, and _Stygivenator molnari_, as
submitted to Gakken but not published, in the back of the book as appendices.
If the genera are not considered available yet, they certainly will be then.

George O.