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Re: USNM 4734 Allosaurus fragilis topotype

Stephan Pickering (StephanPickering@cs.com) wrote:

<You are quite mistaken. USNM 4734 was designated the "paratype" by
Gregory Paul in 1988, changed to "topotype" by Daniel Chure in the
reanalysis of Allosaurus Marsh 1877, in his 2000 dissertation, A new
species of Allosaurus from the Morrison Formation of Dinosaur National
Monument (UT-CO) and a revision of the theropod family Allosauridae, Part
1, page 166.>

  A little confusion about these two "types" of types. A paratype must be
designated at the time a holotype is designated and must be shown to be of
the same species as the holotype. If a lectotype is designated, then a
paralectotype, if ever, must be designated (or not). A topotype must
consist of the same material as the type, and be designated as such by
comparsion, to be of the same species. Chure notes that this specimen
pertains in content to the same material in the holotype, and any scrap
would be topotypically composed ... but they also must be shown to be the
same species. A dissertation, similarly, does not count as a taxonomic or
systematic act, and designations of types must await formal publication,
which Dan is certainly doing.

<In my in-progress Mutanda Dinosaurologica, I also use the "topotype"
wording for USNM 4734, and Daniel Chure, if I am not mistaken, will
formally designate USNM 4734 again when his paper drawn from the
dissertation is published. Jim  Madsen in 1976 designated UUVP 6000 (now
catalogued DINO 2560), on page 10 of his monograph, but this (as Dan Chure
2000:166 points out) was unnecessary as YPM 1930 is not lost.>

  There are other reasons to designate neotypes, if perusal of the
Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature is not too difficult. In it, the known
syntype series, including von Huene and Padian's designated lectotypes of
the various *Coelophysis* species and other taxa in there, were known in
the AMNH collections, and the ICZN awarded ID of the neotype to one of the
Ghost Ranch specimens, under one of the ICZN's plenary powers. The main
point about the *Allosaurus* and *Antrodemus* problem was that the type is
crap, and this is notable under many circumstances. USNM 6000 was
designated the neotype and was done so in the _BZN_, so I fail to see
where the problem lies except maybe after the next quoted section...

<The topotype USNM 4734 allows scholars to ascertain three clades of
Allosaurus: A. fragilis Marsh 1877, A. n.sp. Chure 2000, and A. whitei
Pickering 1996 (= AMNH 666, the type, + AMNH 5753 paratype + numerous
referred specimens I listed in 1996). Contra Chure 2000, the name I 
established is valid and diagnosable>

  But not diagnosed? If it was diagnosed, would you mind reproducing it
here and demonstrating how these specimens are not in fact referrable to
any other species?

  The problem with USNM 6000 seems that Pickering (I'm using the passive,
now) has made it into another species, a species I might add which has
never been accepted. The manner in which this publication was released
followed, at that time, a format issued with newsletters, which the ICZN
did not regard as publication. Even if there was a subscriber base, none
of this material was solicited, but rather just sent out. I could easily
mail a thousand people naming every other species of dinosaurs with a new
genus, a quickie diagnosis, and a holotype, and it would not be a

<It is valid, following ICZN Article 7, in that well over 150 copies of my
publication were distributed as a supplement to Mike Fredericks'
PREHISTORIC TIMES in 1996, and, as copies exist (and photocopies are
available from me of the pertinent pages), it also follows ICZN Article 8
in being a permanent scientific record.>

  But Pickering has not surpassed the exceptions of the publication, which
include newsletters, to my knowledge, and as a supplement, it is not
therefore "your own venue". Sadly, in the 1999 edition of the Code, this
exception is no longer in effect. His permanent record should also, as has
been done with George Olshevsky's works, be sent to the Library of
Congress and, I think, to the USGS Library in Boulder, CO, and there be
counted as _permanent_; this is also what _Paleontologica Electronica_ has
done to satisfy the requirement of a permanent record.


Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

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