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Naming conventions (was: Re: Allosaurus fragilis vs. "Creosaurus" atrox)



twilliams@canr1.cag.uconn.edu wrote:
> Bakker has not shown that these two species are distinct genera - at
> least not in any scientific publication.  The name "Madsenius" was
> proposed for certain _Allosaurus_ specimens which he considered
> distinct from "true" _Allosaurus_.   I've also heard that another
> _Allosaurus_ specimen has been tagged as a new genus by Bakker, with
> the name "Wyomingraptor" proposed for this one.

Something that's been bugging me lately (and probably shouldn't be,
since I'm not a pro, but has been nonetheless) is some of the new names
that have been cropping up for dinos.  I can't think of many offhand,
but this "Wyomingraptor" and the ever-popular Utahraptor are two prime
examples.  One of the nice things about binomial nomenclature is that it
can be used to tell you an awful lot about the animal or plant in
question.  Even the more grandiose names in recent years, such as
Gigantosaurus and Seismosaurus, tell you something useful about the
animal (in these cases, they're really, really big).  What does
"Utahraptor" tell you about the animal?  Is it a thief from Utah (or
worse, a thief who stole Utah???)?  Do we have any reason to believe
this animal stole anything?  Velociraptor, IIRC, was forst found in the
vicinity of a Protoceratops nest in the Gobi.  Oviraptor was similarly
found sitting on eggs.  Was this also true with Utahraptor?  With
Wyomingraptor?  If not, why use the name?  Why not name it something
descriptive instead of cashing in on the ridiculous popularity of
"raptors?"  I can understand the media getting caught up with the idea,
but they don't name the beasts.  Pros generally do, and they should know
better, IMO.

--
Oh my God!  They've killed Kosh!  You bastards!
Chris Campbell  Sankarah@ou.edu