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Re: Re: Building Blocks of T. rex (sorry about the last one)
>>Don't forget the 19th Century specimens (as too many popularizers of
>>dinosaur research have done)! Both Marsh and Cope described material which
>>almost certainly belongs to T. rex, Marsh's being refered specimens to his
>>species "Ornithomimus" grandis, Cope's the type of Manospondylus gigas.
>>Both sets of fossils are still in collections (the Smithsonian and the
>>American Museum, respectively).
>Which begs the question, why aren't these the correct senior synonyms for
>Tyrannosaur rex? (References would be nice).
The Smithosonian specimen was a refered specimen of "Ornithomimus" grandis.
The type (now lost) was from an older, Eagle Sandstone tyrannosaurid. Thus,
the Smithsonian specimen had no valid name prior to Tyrannosaurus rex.
The type of Manospondylus gigas is a weathered dorsal centrum. It lacks any
diagnostic characters beyond being tyrannosaurid. Since it is from the
Lance (or Hell Creek, I can't recall), in which T. rex is the only large
tyrannosaurid known, you could argue that Manospondylus has priority.
However, taxonomists from H.F. Osborn and B. Brown to K. Carpenter and G.
Olshvevsky all argue that the type of T. rex (on display at the Carnegie) is
MUCH better, is highly diagnostic, and should be used to define the taxon.
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Dept. of Geology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742