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Padian et al. 1999's Moratorium



Mike Taylor wrote:
The book you're referring to is:

        David M. Martill and Darren Naish, _Dinosaurs of the
        Isle of Wight_, 2001, published by the Palaeontologial
        Association.

Thanks! I've wondered for some time!


The word "Enigmosauria" occurs twice in the book: once in the index and once in the caption to figure 9.1 on page 243 (near the start of Chapter 9: _Saurischian Dinosaurs 2: Theropods_). The diagram shows that the name pertains to a group containing oviraptorosaurs and therizinosaurs/segnosaurs, and the position of the marker suggests that it's intended as a node rather than a stem.


Whoever publishes it, will probably make it a node. However, as I asked before (or at least think I did), is it possible to define a clade like this {Taxon A, Taxon B <-- Taxon C}?


HOWEVER, there is no definition: it's impossible to tell from the
diagram what the anchor taxa are -- even the oviraptorosaur and
therizinosaur/segnosaur are recognisable only from small sketches.
There is no prose whatsoever defining the name.

I was aware that it lacked a definition.

What's more, HP Naish
has explicitly disclaimed the name on-list, explaining that its
occurence in the figure was an oversight -- see
        http://www.cmnh.org/dinoarch/2003May/msg00109.html

So with all that in mind, plus Dr. Tom's injunctions, it seems clear
that this is NOT a valid name, Mickey Mortimer's protestations to the
contrary notwithstanding (sorry, Mickey :-)

Well, someone needs to go and publish it in their next paper regardless of what your paper is about. In other words, someone needs to write a big manuscript on the flight dynamics of something or other (why not a sauropod?), then at the end in the conclusion, state that you are publishing the clade, with a little cladogram, and little silhouettes, and brackets and other fun things. ;-]


Uhm... more seriously, I think it is probably one of the best names for the group proposed so far, then again, there is "Enigmodracones" (also suggested by HP Keesey?). I read the abstract of the Padian et al. paper declaring the moratorium on new theropod clade names. Out of eeking curiousity, I must ask, when does the moratorium end? Are theropod phylogenetics stable enough yet? Will they ever be?

Nick Gardner
aim s/n Eoraptor22

"Reasoning is never, like poetry, judged from the outside at all." - C.S. Lewis

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