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Re: A Clutter of Duckbills

>Often little more than the opinion of the researcher.  Usually, when two=
> groups of animals are given species names, they are placed in a genus
> the similarities of that group more or less match that of previously=
> documented species.  The problem is that there is no set criteria to
> what "more or less match" means.  Granted, we can look at modern animals,=
> compare the diversity shown in their populations, and try to apply that to=
> a fossil species, but this will inevitably lead to a wrong conclusion=
> somewhere, because we rarely will know what diversity existed within the=
> species in question.  The only way to bypass this problem is with more=
> finds, and more specimens.  Ultimately, as more and more fossils are=
> discovered, we will be able to work out many of these questions (another=
> point for those who want to limit private collecting).

Why can't we set a criteria as to which species and genus goes where?  There
has to be actual rules with this, not just opinions.  To correct the jumbled
taxonomy of dinosaurs we must first make a set of DEFINITE RULES.  Sort of
like "the law" when it comes to placing species and genera and such.

As far as I know, no such law exists. A law, however, does seem to exist for
giving dinosaurs names.  The International Code of Zoological Naming, or
something like that. 

Suppose someone makes a new finding of dinosaur bones.  What steps are taken
to determine where this specimen fits in?  What can lead the discoverer(s) to
place the specimen in a new species, genus, family, etc.?  How can we improve
upon the steps taken?

Shouldn't the fossil collected, even if it were fragmentary, be compared with
already "definitively" classified taxa?  If, suppose, an isolated femur
matched the femur of Edmontosaurus, should the femur be classified as an
Edmontosaurus?  What would lead the femur to be classified otherwise?

Sometimes specimens are placed in different species and genera from what they
most resemble because of very slight details in the fossil, say, "minor
details" in the skull, or shoulder blade.  Very, very slight details.  People
who groups specimens into this genus and that species can be so picky
sometimes, ESPECIALLY G.O.!  

Let's look at some modern species that are agreed by all to belong to one
genus.  I am not sure if there is such a bunch of species, but there must be
one genus that houses a bunch of species MOST people can agree belong there.
 Anyway, how much do the species differ in their anatomy and such?  Perhaps
we can apply this amount of differences when we group dinosaurs.  

I am so sick of dinosaurs being grouped just because of someone's opinion.
 Every time you look around, this species is moved there, this genus is
renamed to house this and that, and this family is renamed this, and this
genus is deleted and renamed that.  It is very pathetic!  We must all admit
to that.  We have to be much more careful about this, and create a DEFINITIVE
method for placing a fossil specimen, at least until other, more recently
discovered specimens show otherwise.  Someone has to take on the tedious, and
almost impossible, job of reorganizing the entire dinosaur family tree, from
the first discovered specimens over a century ago, and build their way,
carefully, up to the specimens found in this very year.  But, we must all
realize, for now the dinosaur family tree is a knot that can never be untied
until a new criteria is developed.  No one should attempt anything until
then.  I am serious.  Cladists, taxonomists, etc., have screwed it up enough!

Sorry if this made some of you angry at me.  Just had to get those bitter
feelings out!  ;)

Raptor RKC (Raptor RKC)