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Re: A nomenclatural problem
>In reviewing my dinosaur list, I have found a tricky nomenclatural
>problem. According to most of my references, the type species of
>Tornieria is T. robusta. However, Olshevsky's list cites an article
>which reportedly determined the type species to be T. africana.
>What was the basis for the apparent switch? How valid is it?
>This is important, as "T." robusta is a diplodocid, while "T."
>africana is apparently a titanosaurid. I need to know which one
>really is Tornieria!
[You couldn't pick an easy one, could you.... ;-) ]
Okay, both "africanus" and "robustus" were originally placed in what
Janensch thought was a new genus, "Gigantosaurus". Unfortunately,
"Gigantosaurus" was already around (in the form of G. macronyx, an
indeterminate sauropod from England).
So, the beastie was renamed "Tornieria", with the type T. africana.
Unfortunately, T. africana is a diplodocid, while T. robusta is a
titanosaurian (although it may not be in crown-group Titanosauridae).
Now, Tornieria africana has been synonymized by some with the American genus
Barosaurus, changing the name to Barosaurus africanus. Not everyone is
convinced of this, but if the species isn't in Barosaurus, than it remains
The species "robustus" was long ignored. Many still used the name
"Tornieria robusta", despite the fact that the species does not belong in
the same genus as the diplodocid.
Rupert Wild recently solved the problem by proposing a new name,
"Janenschia", for the titanosaurian.
This leaves these two Tendaguru sauropods as Tornieria africana (or
Barosaurus africanus) and Janencshia robusta.
Hope that was fairly clear,
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Dept. of Geology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742