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Re: Discovery could Endanger T.Rex Name
The outcome of this may open up another "can of worms"....
Bringing back our favorite thunder lizard "BRONTOSAURUS", instead of the
less favored Apatosaurus.
What do you think?
On Tue, 13 Jun 2000, Larry Dunn wrote:
> Discovery could Endanger T.Rex Name
> By The Associated Press
> SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- Would a Tyrannosaurus rex by
> any other name sound as scary?
> The ancient predator's Latin name -- which means
> ``tyrant lizard king'' -- may be on the endangered
> list, according to a fossils expert.
> The T. rex, the first specimen of which was discovered
> in Montana in 1902, was named three years later by
> paleontologist Henry Osborn.
> But dinosaur bones unearthed last week at a South
> Dakota ranch could be part of a fossil found earlier,
> in 1892, and called Manospondylus gigas, said Peter
> Larson, president of the Black Hills Institute of
> Geological Research.
> If that's the case, Larson said, rules of paleontology
> say the first name would take precedence.
> ``That puts the name Tyrannosaurus rex in peril,''
> Larson said Monday.
> Larson's company in 1990 dug up Sue, the most complete
> T. rex fossil ever found. Last week, it excavated
> about 10 percent of a fossil on a ranch in Perkins
> County, the same general area where paleontologist
> Edward Drinker Cope made his 1892 discovery.
> Cope didn't have enough of the fossil for the name he
> chose -- Manospondylus gigas, which means ``giant,
> thin vertebra'' -- to become the accepted terminology
> for the species now known as T. rex, Larson said. The
> discovery of the more complete fossil in 1902 by
> Barnum Brown led to that designation.
> ``You can't describe a species from a single bone or a
> single tooth,'' Larson said. ``It doesn't tell you
> what the whole animal looks like. It's not enough.''
> Larson suspects the newly discovered bones, including
> ribs, vertebrae, the jaw and parts of the skull, are
> part of the same animal Cope found. With a fuller
> complement of bones on hand, Larson believes the
> terrifying T. rex could become Manospondylus gigas.
> The fossil already has been nicknamed ``E.D. Cope.''
> Carrie Herbel, a paleontologist at the South Dakota
> School of Mines and Technology, is not so sure. A name
> change would require overwhelming evidence that it is
> the same creature, she said.
> ``I think that would be very difficult at best,''
> Herbel said.
> And then there's the dinosaur-enamored public --
> especially children.
> ``It would be a real hard sell,'' she said. ``I don't
> think anybody in the world would want to change it.
> People would be up in arms.''
> Even Larson is not thrilled by the idea.
> ``It would be very sad if the name had to be
> changed,'' said Larson, who plans to conduct research
> at the American Museum of Natural History in New York
> to determine whether the fossils are from the same
> The more recent fossils were discovered last December
> by rancher Bucky Derflinger on his family's property.
> Derflinger said he has no fear that Tyrannosaurus rex
> will lose its place in the language.
> ``Even people who don't know anything about dinosaurs
> know what a T. rex is,'' he said. ``You can't replace
> T. rex.''
> Larson said the dinosaur is an adult male, perhaps 40
> feet long and weighing about 6 tons. He said he plans
> to do more excavating at the ranch.
> ``Hopefully there will be just a little bit more,''
> Larson said.
> The T. rex called Sue was unveiled May 17 at the Field
> Museum of Natural History in Chicago. That skeleton is
> named for Sue Hendrickson, the fossil hunter who found
> it. The museum spent $8.36 million at an auction to
> obtain the specimen, which scientists say is about 67
> million years old.
> "I've been ionized, but I'm OK now."
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