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Dinosaur Genera List update #182
I added four more or less "irregular" dinosaur names during the past week.
Names #933 and #934, the first to be added in the year 2002, are both nomina
"Huaxiasaurus" Rey, 2002 [nomen nudum]
"Ichabodcraniosaurus" Novacek, 1996 [nomen nudum]
The former name appears in the English translation of Luis Rey's article, on
the October 2001 SVP meeting, published in the current (sixth) issue of
Japan's Dino Press magazine. It is said to denote an as yet undescribed
theropod from Liaoning.
The latter name appears in Mike Novacek's 1996 book on dinosaurs from the
Gobi (Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs, Anchor Books), where it informally
refers to a headless velociraptorine skeleton for which the detached head was
later discovered (hence the reference to Ichabod Crane, the character in
Washington Irving's story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" who was menaced by
the headless horseman). (Well, it's no worse a nomen nudum than Elvisaurus or
Darren Naish, whose emails are always a pleasure to receive and read,
notified the dinosaur mailing list of the publication of a new British
probable herrerasaurian dinosaur, Agnosphitys cromhallensis. Here are the
relevant parts of his email:
Subj: NEW GENUS UK BASAL ?DINOSAUR
Date: 1/31/02 4:28:15 AM EST
This just in, dunno if anyone else has reported it yet (haven't had time
to check the backlog)...
New basal British ?dinosaur Agnosphitys cromhallensis.
Fraser, N. C., Padian, K., Walkden, G. M. & Davis, A. L. M. 2002.
Basal dinosauriform remains from Britain and the diagnosis of the
Dinosauria. Palaeontology 45, 79-95.
Agnosphitys is from the Upper Triassic Cromhall Quarry of Avon,
England, best known for sphenosuchian Terrestrisuchus (which
Fraser et al. regard as distinct from Saltoposuchus - they also report
the presence of two morphs of Terrestrisuchus: Fraser in prep.).
Holotype of Agnosphitys is an ilium but referred material includes
maxilla, astragalus, humerus, and tooth. Acetabulum semi-perforate,
two sacrals, good brevis fossa, acute anteromedial corner to astragalus.
As for affinities, Fraser et al provide a small cladogram in which
Agnosphitys is more derived than Herrerasaurus and both are
outgroups to Dinosauria - they discuss Sereno et al and Novas etc
work on the position of Eoraptor and herrerasaurids relative to
other dinosaurs but obviously do not include comments on more
recent work by Max Langer and colleagues, much of which has major
implications for polarity and distribution of the characters discussed
here (the Saturnalia paper obviously came out after this was
submitted). From a quick read, it seems that their main take is that
Eoraptor and herrerasaurids are not dinosaurs, let alone saurischians.
One small problemette: two spellings of the new genus are provided in
the paper and they are used interchangeably. In the systematic
palaeontology section, the new genus is given as Agnosphitys
whereas - immediately below - the new species within this genus is
given as Agnostiphys [sic] cromhallensis!! Whoops. Because
Agnosphitys is first in the paper, I recommend this is the one we use
(unless the authors intended otherwise). Etymology seems a bit vague:
'Greek, unknown or uncertain, with reference to the position of the
new form relative ot the Dinosauria'.
The above paragraph adequately describes the "irregularity" associated with
the name. Accordingly, I added name #935 as
Agnosphitys Fraser, Padian, Walkden & Davis, 2002
but if it turns out that the alternative spelling is correct, I'll change the
Later, Montana entomologist Michael Ivie (Museum of the Rockies) posted the
following remarkable email (slightly edited) to the dinosaur mailing list:
Subj: New name for Syntarsus
Date: 2/1/02 10:41:15 AM EST
Dear Dinosaur folks,
This is a note to let you know of a recent paper that may fly below your
radar because it was published in an entomological journal. The name
Syntarsus Raath is preoccupied by a one hundred year older beetle name,
and has been replaced by the name Megapnosaurus Ivie, Slipinski and
The citation is:
Ivie, M. A., S. A. Slipinski, And P. Wegrzynowicz. 2001. Generic
homonyms in the Colydiinae (Coleoptera: Zopheridae). Insecta Mundi
>From the abstract:
New replacement names are proposed: Megapnosaurus Ivie, Slipinski and
Wegrzynowicz NEW REPLACEMENT NAME for Syntarsus Raath 1969
(Ceratosauria: Coelophysidae), not Syntarsus Fairmaire 1869 (Coleoptera:
Zopheridae: Colydiinae). This results in the new combinations
Megapnosaurus rhodesiensis (Raath 1961) NEW COMBINATION, Megapnosaurus
kayentakatae (Rowe 1989) NEW COMBINATION
Boy, did this ever inspire a flurry of rancorous responses! (How dare an
>entomologist< rename a well-established dinosaur like Syntarsus with a name
whose etymology is "big dead lizard"; etc.) Despite all this, I added name
#936 to the Dinosaur Genera List:
Megapnosaurus Ivie, Slipinski & Wegrzynowicz, 2001
and I also had to change the listing for Syntarsus:
Syntarsus Raath, 1969/Fairmaire, 1869 -> Megapnosaurus
Who would have thought, eh?
Appropriate changes resulting from the above four additions to the Dinosaur
Genera List will also appear in the dinosaur species lists for North America,
Africa, Asia, and Europe for the forthcoming second printing of Mesozoic
Meanderings #3, as soon as I can get around to them.
George "Dinogeorge" Olshevsky
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