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Re: Elmisauridae and holotypes

At 02:59 AM 11/21/97 GMT, you wrote:
>Greetings all,
>Is there a place, or person, I could write to get a description of any
>Elmisaurdae species? You gotta understand the complete lack of reference
>material here in the "natural state". Is ther a chance in hell I can find
>out something more than is in the Dinosauria over the web? If not an
>address would be appreciated.

Unlikely.  That article is the greatest synthesis of the group published
yet, although Hans Sues's forthcoming paper on _Chirostenotes_ will modify
some aspects of it.

Incidentally, the Currie & Russell paper on _Chirostenotes_ from Canadian
Journal of Earth Sciences is a MUST HAVE for elmisaurid studies (citation is
in the Dinosauria).  See if someone with more free time (i.e., probably not
me) can get you a copy.

>I think I understand the holotype system as it now exists, but it seems to
>me there is a gap in the method.  If a fragmentary and incomplete specimen
>is described, and that specimen has been distorted by compression or other
>forces, and a very similar specimen is found that is perfectly preserved,
>how is the errection of a new species avoided?

By refering the new specimen to the original species (i.e., refering AMNH
5027 or Sue to _Tyrannosaurus rex_, even though they are better specimens
than the type).

>If a skull is found, and no
>other material, and there exists a named species without a skull, how is
>the double name problem avoided?

Can't be.  Them's the breaks.  However, a later specimen could demonstrate
that they are the same species, in which case priority is used for the name.

For more details, see: Holtz, T.R., Jr. & M.K. Brett-Surman.  1997.  The
taxonomy and systematics of the dinosaurs.  pp. 92-106. IN, Farlow, J.O. &
M.K. Brett-Surman (eds.), The Complete Dinosaurs.  Indiana Univ. Press.

{How's that for a plug? :-) }

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661