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The problem of informal names (was RE: "Ichabodcraniosaurus")



> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> David Marjanovic
>
> > > << "Ichabodcraniosaurus" Novacek 1996 >>
> > >
> > > This name has been published??? Citation, please!
> >
> > As said by David Marjanovic back in October 2000-
> > ""Ichabodcraniosaurus" (LK Mongolia, only mentioned in _Michael Novacek:
> > Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs, Anchor Books 1996_ ...)"
> > http://www.cmnh.org/fun/dinosaur-archive/2000Oct/msg00180.html
>
> This post and the following ones are in Unicode (UTF-8). I still haven't
> seen "Ichabodcraniosaurus" anywhere else (Norell, 2001 is in the Ostrom
> Symposium Volume, isn't it?); I've found an action policeman Ichabod Crane
> in a TV program meanwhile, though.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!

Would people PLEASE appreciate the difference between a goofy field or lab
nickname for a specimen and a seriously proposed new taxon name?

Here is the quote from Novacek (1994. Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs),
immediately after the discovery of a beautiful dromaeosaur skeleton which AT
NO POINT IN THAT TEXT IS CLAIMED TO BE A NEW TAXON:
"It lacked a precious head.  Although Mark was understandably upset, it was
still an important find.  Informally called "_Ichabodcraniosaurus_," the
skeleton remains under investigation in New York to this day."

As Mickey Mortimer pointed out, it differs in coding from other
_Velociraptor_ specimens by a single character in the Norell et al. (2001)
analysis.

Norell & company have yet to formally name this creature (and I agree with
Mickey: if it isn't just individual variation within _V. mongoliensis_, than
a whole new genus might really not be appropriate).  Maybe they will go with
"Ichabodcarniosaurus", maybe something else.  Until then, that name is no
more a taxon name than is "Dave".

Incidentally, for people not familiar with the reference: Ichabod Crane was
the name of the school teacher "haunted" by the Headless Horseman in the
Washington Irving short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow":
http://www.bri-dge.com/short_takes/short24.html.  The recent movie "Sleepy
Hollow" transformed him into a police investigator.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796