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RE: What are these dinosaurs? 2: Return of What are these dinosaurs?



> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Martin Barnett
>
> christian farrell kammerer wrote:
>
>although recently
> > at least one therapsid worker has lumped Phthinosuchus in under
> Dinosaurus
> > [eep!]), and the best course is to forget this name completely.
>
> If dinosaurus is a therapsid and therefore does not fall within the clade
> for dinosauria, should not the name (heaven forbid!) "Dinosauria"
> be changed
> under current naming rules?
>

No, the name "Dinosauria" would NOT have to be changed under ANY of the
rules (phylogenetic taxonomy, traditional Linnean, etc.).

There never have been hard-and-fast rules for higher-level taxa within the
Linnean System.  You could name an amphipod (or squid or turtle or whatever)
_Mammalius_, but that would neither affect the meaning or use of the name
Mammalia.

Under phylogenetic taxonomy, the name Dinosauria is applied to the clade
comprised of all descendents of the most recent common ancestor of modern
birds and _Triceratops_; it does not hinge on the fate of the name
"_Dinosaurus_".

Also, the appropriateness of a name (species level on up) has NEVER been a
requirement: there is nothing forbidding people naming a giant titanosaur
_Micronanomusculus_ (little dwarf mousie), other than good taste.

You may rest easy; Dinosauria is not at risk.

                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): 301-314-7843