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RE: 1869 Nature dinosaur article online



> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Thom Holmes
>
> This week marks the 130th anniversary of the science publication
> Nature. In
> recognition of this, the publisher has made the full text of its
> very first
> issue available online at http://helix.nature.com/first/. It is
> interesting
> to note that this issue included a dinosaur article: "TRIASSIC DINOSAURIA.
> BY PROF. HUXLEY, F.R.S." In this article, Thomas Huxley provides his
> arguments for placing the Thecodontosauria within the Dinosauria.
> It is not
> a long piece, but it represents an intriguing window onto the world of
> dinosaur science in its infancy.
>
Also significant is the Huxley's comment that during the Triassic "the
Dinosauria -- the links between reptiles and birds -- seem to have been
represented by not fewer, probably by many more, than nine or ten distinct
genera."

For those who weren't aware of it, the avian relations of dinosaurs is not a
20th discovery per se; several scientists of the 19th Century (Huxley &
Marsh) considered dinosaurs as the ancestors or the closest relatives
(sister taxa, in modern parlance) of birds.

> Many of the dinosaur names found in the article have since been
> superseded,
> making the article even that much more quaint. Prof. Cope even
> get mentioned
> with an opinion about "Bathygnathus, from the Triassic beds of Prince
> Edward's Island."

Before people start wondering where _Bathygnathus_ is in The Dinosauria or
Dinosaurs: The Encyclopedia, that specimen has since turned out to be a
synapsid, likely a sphenacodont, and quite possibly the senior (UGH!!)
synonym of _Dimetrodon_.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796