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Re: Torvosaurus (or Megalosaurus) in Europe?

Thomas Lipka wrote-

>  I publically seek forgiveness from the list and especially from Tracy for
ever providing the > pictures with which this description was made.
Originally, I had supported his writing
> _something_ up in his "Details on..." serials- my mistake.
> And finally, the pictures provided, in my view, were not of sufficient
detail with which to
> derive enough information to use in a description. Of any kind!

Tom's photos were not used in my original "Details on "Capitalsaurus*""
post, only in the revised one.  Even then, only two sentences were from the
photos.  The rest was from published sources, most importantly Gilmore
(1920).  Tom even told me that "Capitalsaurus" was "wide open" to write
about, when I originally questioned him about how secret I should keep
information gleaned from the photos.  I would disagree on the quaility of
the photos being insufficient for a description (it's just a centrum after
all), but that's getting off topic.
* Note that I do not mean any disrespect to Tom when I write "Capitalsaurus"
instead of censoring the word.  I simply find censoring data like this
useless when it's published, as if we're denying it's existance.

> That's the point though. It is one thing to _discuss_ some aspect of a
specimen, let's take
> for example USNM 3049, or to convey historical background or to go into
the systematic > taxonomy of a specimen in question as part of a larger
thesis. It's something totally different > when yet another useless junk
nomen is bandied about and for no clear reason. That is,
> unless you are re-describing it! Call it what you will, and I reread the
archive link regarding > this, it appears that is exactly what you are doing
despite your assertions to the contrary.
> Moreover, rehashing that thread and providing the URL for that missive can
only serve to > reinforce the notion that a description is "out there".

There seems to be a feeling by some that ignoring names will make them go
away.  My post is "out there" and there's nothing that can change that, any
more than we can deny Kranz's 1998 paper with the name is out there.
Regardless of the errors made when these writings (and other nomina nuda)
were initially put into the publicly available data collection, they are now
there, so ignoring them is not the answer.  Anyone can search for
"Capitalsaurus" on the DML Archives or Google and find it.  I was simply
trying to help people follow my points easier by giving them the initial
references.  In my view, a name is always "better" to use when referring to
a specimen than a specimen number is.  It's just how the hierarchy works in
my head.  Names are more memorable and easier to associate with other data
in my mind.  So when I hear that USNM 3049 has been called "Capitalsaurus"
in a published article, I'll start referring to it by that name.  This
particular situation is more complex than that due to the fact Kranz did not
associate the specimen and the name in the original article (though he may
have later, I'll have to check on that).  I just don't think of this in the
same way you do.  To me, "Capitalsaurus" potens is no more a "useless junk
nomen" than "Creosaurus" potens is.  Sure, it was named more for political
than scientific reasons, but it's still published, so "bandying it about"
seems as appropriate as bandying "Creosaurus" potens or "Dryptosaurus"
potens about.  It's just what one decides to call it, as all of those genera
have been associated with the specimen in print.  What could be argued
against is my use of the combination "Capitalsaurus" potens, as that has not
been published as such.  This is another wonderful gray area of

> We cannot emphasize this enough! As I stated previously, your missives
have taken on a
> life of their own. It is offten impossible to distinguish between what you
are abstracting
> from the paper in question, paraphrasing, _quoting_ from the author(s) or
injecting _your
> own_ opinions_. Therein lies the danger.

I'm glad my Details on have become more than just paraphrasing the authors
(as they started out being, see Details on Huaibasaurus (misspelled, should
be Huabeisaurus)).  I do see the problem that occurs when nomina nuda are
described.  For instance, Details on "Anabisetia" was completely
paraphrased, while Details on "Beleemodon" was completely my own work.  I
apologize for this.  _IF_ I ever decide to write a Details on for a nomen
nudum again, I'll be very sure to state clearly what's being paraphrased,
but after this whole mess, I'll avoid them like the plague. :-)
Note that whatever the status of the name, I always include direct quotes
from authors in quotation marks.

> > 1. "C<snip>urus"
> > http://www.cmnh.org*snip*
> > What a mess that was. :-(  Here, I can see your point.
> But do you really?

Yes, I shouldn't have-
1. Called the material the holotype of "Capitalsaurus", as the latter is a
nomen nudum that can't have a holotype.
2. Wrote that "Capitalsaurus" is based on the same specimen as "Creosaurus"
potens, when such had not been published (or so I thought), with the
corrollary of writing all I did about "C." potens under the guise of
describing "Capitalsaurus".
3. Included the binomial "Capitalsaurus" potens, as this hasn't been
published to my knowledge.
4. Given a diagnosis of "Capitalsaurus", as this has not been published
The most serious infraction here is 2, as I did it without Kranz's
permission.  I had assumed telling the DML that a published name is
connected to a published and described specimen wasn't the sort of thing
that needed to be kept secret.  Luckily, he reacted quite positively to my
action, but had it been someone else, the result might have been far more
negative.  The rest of my errors fall into the "describing a published
species in a nomen nudum genus problem" that happened with Chure's genus as
(I just know I left something out, I can picture a reply "No you fool!  The
most important reason was....."  ;-)  )

> If you must refer to it at all then how about
> ... USNM 3049 (formerly GC 3049) Lull, 1911, pl XIV, fig. 4 , "Creosaurus
potens" = Theropoda indet. (Weishampel, 1990. Dinosaur Distribution _in_
Weishampel etc....The Dinosauria, p.63-139...
> or something along that line? Why insist on yet another useless name?

Like I said, it's just how my mind works.  When I read USNM 3049, I don't
have a good idea what it is, and I'm sure many other people can relate.
Theropoda indet. is certainly too broad to give an idea of what I'm
discussing.  "Creosaurus" potens, "Dryptosaurus" potens and "Capitalsaurus"
are all distinct names that have been used for the specimen, so they are the
alternatives I have to choose from.  The former two are both inaccurate, so
that immediately counts against them.  "Creosaurus" potens is the first name
given, so it gets that benefit.  "Capitalsaurus" is a nomen nudum, but it is
published.  And if Kranz is right (have to check the reference), it has been
associated with USNM 3049 in the literature.  Kranz doesn't mind if it's
used, so I'm not angering any authors by "scooping them".  Tracy has said
himself that he has no problem using nomina nuda, he's just against
diagnosing and listing material before the authors have.  So it's nomen
nudum status doesn't affect referencing it.  The motives that influenced its
naming should have no consequence on whether to use it or not.  Finally,
"Capitalsaurus" at least points out that the material is not Creosaurus
(=Allosaurus) or Dryptosaurus, so has that benefit.

>   Kranz still wants me to
> > publish the name

Yeah, I agree. :-)  And I'm not pursuing it.

Mickey Mortimer