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Astrodont Diagnosis & Referral

Steve Brusatte (dinoland@lycos.com) wrote:

<Therefore, although Astrodon may indeed be a nomen dubium,
there is no way to know without 1) performing some sort of study
and 2) publishing it somewhere. To my knowledge, neither have
been done.>


and wrote later on:
<...[A]nd will accept the fact that Astrodon is a nomen dubium
when somebody shows me a study.>

  A study to prove that the material is not diagnostically
capable of separating the material from other taxa? Huh ... A
taxon can be declared a nomen dubium when the material is 1)
incomparable to other preserved material of other taxa it
_might_ have common ansectry with, 2) the material is not
separable from that comparable in other taxa, despite locality,
age, etc. *Walgettosuchus* from Australia is a nomen dubium
despite being the only elongated distal caudal from that region
of the world ... and apparently not referrable to other taxa
found similarly. Or 3) the material has no diagnostic features.
If there are star-shaped teeth from similar beds preserving
dissimilar sauropods, then *Astrodon* as a synonym of Arundel
*Pleurocoelous* is questionable. This tooth form could apply to
a host of other sauropods. Thus, *Astrodon* is a nomen dubium
and should not be used for comparative purposes until material
or data _does_ suggest or _show_ that it is diagnostic and
separable from similar teeth, or referable to other taxa. One
does not need to publish this, just as a general concensus it
can apply. However, if you want a codified reference, that's
fine, too. I'm sure I can enjoin Tom and the collections
managers of the museums which house Antlers, Cloverly, Arundel,
and Trinity SS (like the OMNH, YPM, etc.) to compare materials
and do a simple "Yes, there is comparative and quite similar
material available here to suggest that star-shaped teeth are
prevalent among a host of different sauropod types" statement,
and work from there. As my study involves non-mammalian
tooth-types, this is on my to-do list, or hopefully someone will
beat me to the chase and all I need do is cite them.

  If you dissagree, Steve, please tell Tom, Ray, or myself why
*Astrodon* is diagnostic that it needs to be studied to reduce
it to a nomen dubium when it is one on its face?

Jaime A. Headden

  Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Pampas!!!!

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