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Re: SERENO'S NEW DINOSAUR PAPER



At 02:16 PM 7/1/97, Dinogeorge wrote (7/1/97; 2:16pm):

>One major problem with using _Iguanodon_, much as I would like to see 
>this done for historical reasons, is that the type species of the genus
>is based on teeth (holotype) and an extensive series of of possibly 
>incorrectly referred isolated postcranial elements. Until the genus is 
>redescribed in a modern context, we really don't know what _Iguanodon_ 
>is, and we thus have no business using it to define major taxa.

To which Tom Holtz replied (7/1/97; 2:18pm):

>Hmmm, perhaps using the type specimen of _I. bernissartensis_, even if 
it
>should prove to come from another genus, might be a solution?  (Of 
course,
>you lose the English connection, but what can you do?)

If the material from Bernissart turns out to be different from Mantell's 
Iguanodon, or if Mantell's Iguanodon is based upon plesiomorphic 
characters, then I. bernissartensis will have to be reassigned to a new 
genus, will it not, since the original concept will have lost any generic 
content?  After all, look at what happened to Lagosuchus, and what almost 
happened to Coelophysis.  How can we honor the concept of Iguanodon when 
we don't really know what it is?  Perhaps we will eventually conclude 
that it is not a useful name.  Should we honor a name that may have only 
historical significance?  If so, then what happened to Lagosuchus?

To continue my never-ending nomenclatorial rant, just like neornithischia 
and euornithopoda and the like, I don't like dinosauromorpha and 
dinosauriformes. I suppose, when an additional node is identified, we may 
have neodinosauriformes, or the like.  Do we realy need a name for every 
node and stem, especially when one taxonomist's cladogram may not match 
another's?  Why not just map it out on the cladogram, to form a 
schematic-like diagram in some ways similar to an electrical circuit 
diagram, where there are so many nodes that they can't all be named, or, 
if they were, the terminology would probably cease to have any meaning to 
anyone except the originator.  Then, when an alternative circuit is 
proposed to do the same thing, with different nodes or different names 
for them, the result is chaos.  I think phylogenetic taxonomy will also 
end up in chaos unless we back off from proposing ever more terminology 
that is ever more useless due to its own ever-increasing inertia.

Have a nice day!

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Norman R. King                                       tel:  (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences                            fax:  (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712                      e-mail:  nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu