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Senior authors (was RE: tyrannosaurid ancestry, raptors and other fun things...)

> From: ekaterina amalitzkaya [mailto:eamalitz@hotmail.com]
> On another matter I was just curious as to a certain practice amidst
> paleontologists. I notice that in the papers they write the first
> author is
> invariably the principal investigator and not the students. Is this
> customary amidst them? It is very different in other biological sciences
> though.

Actually this practice is NOT invariable in the field.  There are a number
of "Le Loueff & Buffetaut" papers back in the day that Jean Le Loueff was
Eric Buffetaut's grad student; Nino Perez-Moreno was first author on the
Valanginian allosaur and the _Pelecanimimus_ papers, while one or more of
his graduate advisor committee was second or third (or later) authors; the
recent abstract from SVP about the Madagascan titanosaurs was "Curry &
Forster", not "Forster & Curry"; etc.

The Sereno et omnia papers have Sereno as first author, but he WAS the
expedition leader, so that seems fair; the Horner, Varricchio & Goodwin
(1992) paper on dinosaur anagenesis had Jack Horner as first author, but as
the main hypothesis (the inferred anagensis rather than cladogenesis) of
dinosaurs in the Judith River/Two Medicine wedge was primarily Horner's
hypothesis, this again seems appropriate.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-314-7843