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Re: Hung like a megalosaur (was Re: Paleo Bloopers)
In a message dated 97-02-24 03:15:50 EST,
T.Williams@cclru.randwick.unsw.edu.au (Tim Williams) writes:
<< Don't forget _Aachenosaurus_, the "hadrosaur" which turned out to be a
piece of petrified wood.>>
I happen to have an unedited Dinosaur Folios entry for this one:
Two pieces of silicified wood were mistaken for jaw fragments of a new genus
and species of hadrosaurid dinosaur that in 1888 Belgian Abbé Gérard Smets
named Aachenosaurus multidens (Smets 1888a,b). Smets supposed that the
dinosaur was bipedal, about 4.5 meters long, and armored with dermal spines.
Later the same year, however, Belgian paleontologist Louis Antoine Marie
Joseph Dollo (1888) determined the specimens' true nature and corrected the
blunder. Smets's reaction to the rapid demolition of his dinosaur was
furious: He published a scathing retort questioning Dollo's competence (Smets
1888c), citing in particular Belgian paleontologist George Boulenger and
British paleontologist Richard Lydekker as eminent scientists supporting his
opinion of Dollo. But early the next year, Boulenger and Lydekker (1889)
responded with a paper defending Dollo, decrying Smets's attitude, and
showing the dinosaur to be a complete fabrication. Thoroughly discredited,
Smets thereafter faded rapidly from paleontology.
Although the genus Aachenosaurus is invalid, it cannot be reused for any
other animal, and it may someday turn out to be a junior subjective synonym
for a fossil tree.
<< And _Suchinodon_, the Polish "titanosaur" named from what was later
shown to be something of molluscan origin.>>
_Succinodon_: Filled borings by a mollusc named _Kuphus_ that resemble a
series of sauropod teeth.