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Re: Elmisauridae and holotypes



Roger A. Stephenson wrote:

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? 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?


One short answer would be that often the problem *isn't* avoided. These
things happen. And then they have to, with luck, eventually be corrected. The
rules established by the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature
are at the mercy of the vagaries of the fossil record...

Caitlin R. Kiernan