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Lumpers and Splitters



Dinogeorge wrote:

>
>Not very many, actually. The trend now seems to be turning to synonyming
>genera and species (lumping) rather than naming or renaming new genera
>(splitting). This is a statistical trend, by the way, stemming perhaps from
>new concepts of what a genus or a species might be--not a conscious effort
on
>the part of paleontologists, as in, "Well, we've done enough splitting; it's
>time to lump."

I am way sick of specimens being split apart, renamed, placed in different
genera and families, etc.  Lumping can sometimes be the way to go.  Many
lumpings are reasonable.  Splitters tend to forget, or WANT to forget, that
SOME species can be so closely related that they belong in the same genus.
 And we damn well know that more than one species of dino belonged in each
genus, and I am sure we have found some of them.  Splitters seem to want to
put each specimen in its own genus -- how lame!  We should lump when
necessary, and split when necessary.  When anatomical details are minor,
distinct species are closely related, and geological separation (by locale
and time period) are minor, sometimes it is reasonable to lump.  Sometimes it
may take a little study to figure out which name is the best to lump
specimens under.  

I am a lumper at heart, but I do disagree with many lumpings.  Such as many
of GSP's, which include Daspletosaurus = Tyrannosaurus, Deinonychus =
Velociraptor, etc.  Some of them are reasonable.  I favor the lumping of all
species (remember A CLUTTER OF DUCKBILLS?) of Corythosaurus, Lambeosaurus,
and Hypacrosaurus into Hypacrosaurus -- it quite a reasonable lumping.  I
think that until more fossils are discovered, Ultrasauros should be placed in
Brachiosaurus.  Struthiomimus and Ornithomimus, I believe, should be united.
 Ditto Gryposaurus, Hadrosaurus, and Kritosaurus.  And, for some reason, IMHO
Orodromeus looks suspiciously similar to Hypsilophodon...

Some groups of dinosaurs confuse me.  For example, the Styracosaurs,
Eucentrosaurs, and Monoclonians.  Their skulls are all startingly similar --
it appears to me that the horn and spike ornamentation is what keeps them
separated.  I would like to be more informed on these dinosaurs and their
status.  (Info would be appreciated -- but please give me the info directly,
don't point me towards refs!!!)

Some splittings are startingly inappropriate.  Why is Lufengosaurus, an Asian
prosauropod, kept separate from Plateosaurus?  Why is a species that had been
originally referred to Brachiosaurus (B. brancai) now in its own genus,
Giraffatitan?  Why is the original Coelophysis specimen kept separate from
the Ghost Ranch "rioarribasaurs"?  Why are all of those Asian tyrannosaurs in
different genera?  Why, suddenly, are some species of Aublysodon placed into
a new genus, Sinraptor?  There are many more appropriate examples.

Why why why???

Why must the conflicts between lumpers and splitters keep the phytodinosaur
family tree in such a jumble?  Oh, what a tangled web they weave!!

Raptor RKC (Rachel Clark)