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Naming new dinos



Having only discovered this dinosaur posting recently I must say it is just
what I have been looking for. I produce a Dinosaur Encyclopedia IBM software
program, and trying to keep it updated was proving difficult, to say the
least. I'm not particularly impressed with some of the commercial
abstracting services I was relying on, and from some of the comments I've
seen here, others are also having problems. For instance, neither Biological
Abstracts or Zool Record (the CDRom versions, at least) had a reference to
Utahraptor, even though there were other references to articles from
Hunteria!! I've heard about more new dinosaurs in a couple of weeks here
than in 2 years using the abstracting services. As an amateur in the field
I'm impressed by the qualifications of many correspondents - what has
occured to me, though, is why aren't there more of the professionals online?
I'll bet they nearly all have access to the net - do they not know about
this posting, or do they not want ot be involved? I discovered this more or
less by accident (thanks to Jeff Poling's Web page), so maybe they don't
know about it. If not, how difficult would it be to e-mail as many as
possible and tell them?
One thing that worries me about dinosaurs is the proliferation of new names,
many of which will probably turn out in time to be nomina dubia, synonyms,
inclusions etc. The idea occured to me of a register of 'approved' names,
with the basic idea being to weed out the obvious problem names before they
become part of the literature, or at least soon after they do. Ideally
someone who wanted to name a new discovery would submit the basic details
before or at the same time as submitting their paper for publication, and an
expert panel should quickly and without too much effort, be able to pick
those that clearly have inadequate descriptions. Papers that appear without
a registered name could be referred to the panel for a decision. In this day
of electronic mail it would not seem to be a terribly daunting task and
might help to bring some sort of order and reduce some of the more blatant
attempts to publish at any cost.A system something like this does exist for
new chemical compounds as far as I know and presumably works (primarily for
preventing multiple names being given to the same compound). 
The other major problem area in dinosaur nomenclature that is tied in to the
same problem and has been highlighted in these posting from time to time is
the very real problem of just what does constitute a separate species when
dealing with fossilised material? To the interested bystander it seems an
area that needs urgent attention - how much difference between bones is
expected within species etc? Is anything being done (indeed, can anything be
done) by the paleontological community to try and produce some sort of
guidelines?
Sorry if this is too long for a first communication, but I've been sort of
out in the cold for so long and there are so many issues to discuss. I
really would be interested in other's views on what may well be downright
stupid suggestions.
Bye for now
Graeme

Graeme Worth
Department of Endocrinology
Sir Charles Gairdiner Hospital
Perth, Western Australia.
endocrin@desktop.com.au