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Parksosaurus (was RE: Archaeoraptor still a nomen nudum)



        (I just used that subject line to thrill Peter B.)

        I just noticed that Parksosaurus Sternberg 1937(?) was first
published in an ABSTRACT, and, also subsequently used, has not bee
"properly" presented. My understanding was that abstracts (like theses and
notes on napkins) do not qualify as proper publication, rendering this genus
name invalid. Maybe George can fill us in on what the Code has to say.
        Now most of you know I *loath* nomenclatural legalism. However,
there is a big difference between picky little rules and recoginzing names
published by any Tom, Dick and Harry in obscure one-paragraph abstracts,
popular articles in National Geographic, and the walls of bathroom stalls.
An abstract, as my advisor has repeatedly and quite emphatically opined, is
clearly not the pinnacle of scientific writing. There is no room for
adequate documentation, and what is there is not exactly peer-reviewed.
        However, as anyone familiar with the history of the nomenclature of
what is now called Telmatosaurus can attest, taxonomy apparently used to be
a practice often relegated to footnotes, asides, low-circulation in-house
journals, and insinuations sotto vocce. Thus, renaming a genus in an
abstract was probably not all that surprising.
        Does Parksosaurus hurt anyone? No. Does it help? Maybe. I
abosultely, positively do NOT think we should abandon Parksosaurus. I
personally have little problem with the genus, as I consider it a junior
syonym of Thescelosaurus (oh boy, I can almost hear Pete cracking his
knuckles... :). If one wishes to use it, however, please use it. The last
thing anyone needs is to throw good journal space after bad on
clarifications which add nothing to our understanding of the animal, and
only contribute confusion to subsequent workers.
               
        And how does this relate to "Archaeoraptor?" If everyone ignores it,
it will go away. If we all get concerned with whether or not it is "valid",
it will take on a life of its own in our concern and it will NEVER go away.

        Wagner
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     Jonathan R. Wagner, Dept. of Geosciences, TTU, Lubbock, TX 79409-1053
  "Why do I sense we've picked up another pathetic lifeform?" - Obi-Wan Kenobi