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Re: On naming taxa

In a message dated 5/23/01 12:27:00 PM EST, z_heraklides@hotmail.com writes:

<< I think it is a "problem". I enjoyed Predatory Dinosaurs of the World, but 
 should point out that most of Gregory Paul's new species never recieved 
 acceptance. Aublysodon molnari and Albertosaurus megagracilis were based on 
 evidence that was not strong - and were never really given a good diagnosis 
 (like Acrocanthosaurus altispinax).>>

Well, I certainly accepted these three taxa(!). I should also point out that 
even the genus Tyrannosaurus hasn't yet been given a good diagnosis, although 
I'm pretty certain people are working on the problem. Right now, its 
diagnosis seems to be "big tyrannosaurid from the Maastrichtian of North 
America." At least, any dinosaur that presently satisfies these criteria is 
automatically and uncritically referred to the genus Tyrannosaurus (indeed, 
to the species T. rex).
<< Dr Paul's new combinations (e.g. referring Shanshanosaurus huoyanshanensis 
 to Aublysodon and referring Yangchuanosaurus shangyanouensis to 
 Metriacanthosaurus) were also not well supported and have only caused 
 confusion since. >>

The problem of whether or not taxa are valid is quite distinct from the 
problems that would be caused by mandatory taxon registration. I would rather 
have Greg's nomenclature in print than suppressed by some reviewer's fiat, 
for example. Not to mention that the act of registration cannot possibly 
guarantee that a registered taxon would also be a >valid< taxon. The only 
positive aspects of mandatory taxon registration would be the somewhat faster 
dissemination of the news of the arrival of new taxa and the existence of a 
database of taxa that might be checked for preoccupied names and so forth. 
Both of these functions can be done (and indeed are already being done by 
BIOSYS) without becoming part of the formal code of zoological nomenclature.