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Re: Archaeoraptor v Microraptor



In a message dated 1/1/01 7:01:29 PM EST, twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com writes:

<< Similarly, in the _Archaeoraptor_ vs _Microraptor_ fracas, we have one 
 *part* of the specimen (the tail vertebrae) carrying the name 
 _Archaeoraptor_ and the whole specimen carrying the name _Microraptor_.  If 
 the tail vertebrae are non-diagnostic then, like _Manospondylus_, 
 _Archaeoraptor_ can be put to bed as a _nomen dubium_. >>

Just posted on this to paleonet:

The situation is something like this: Suppose paleontologist A finds a 
dinosaur forelimb in a quarry and decribes it as a new genus. In the 
meantime, paleontologist B continues to excavate the quarry and finds the 
rest of the skeleton and, not knowing that A already described the forelimb 
(because the description appeared in a poorly distributed newsletter, say), 
describes it as a second new genus. >If the descriptions are properly done<, 
then B's name sinks as a junior synonym of A's name; they're based on the 
same individual animal and are therefore objective synonyms. (An objective 
synonym is described in the ICZN as a name with the same name-bearing type as 
another name. This would fall into that category, since the synonymy would 
not be a matter of opinion and therefore subjective.) But if A's description 
is some kind of offhand, slipshod piece of work, whereas B's description is 
up to contemporary scientific standards, then the paleo community might 
prefer B's name over A's. That's when the ICZN must be petitioned to overrule 
the normal rule of priority, reject A's name, and accept B's name as the 
available name for the taxon.

So technically, Archaeoraptor has priority over Microraptor right now. But in 
view of the circumstances surrounding the creation of the two names, I think 
Archaeoraptor should be rejected in favor of Microraptor. It would be 
inappropriate to have Storrs Olson's name attached to a Chinese dinosaur that 
was properly named and described by Chinese paleontologists unaware of what 
Olson did.