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Re: Fictional creatures in Gee & Rey's Field Guide to Dinosaurs

Jaime Headden wrote:

"Ichabodcraniosaurus" was a nickname for a [formerly] headless skeleton of *Velociraptor* that frustrated the efforts of the collecting team. Similarly, "Big Momma" or "Mama" does not get granted a nomen nudum status, even though the W. Irving name had a -
saurus ending which, as I understand it, is why George lists it in his nomen nudum list. This is really impractical to his stated purposes with the list, unless he would also like to list "nick names" and other non-scientific usages, and this would pretty much cause the number of names to explode and follow non-taxonomic usage (Big Al, Sue, Stan, Fred, Fran, Willo, etc. ...).

This is not a criticism of George, but I see Jaime's point entirely. This could be resolved by having the designation of _nomen nudum_ be restricted to genera that appear in published scientific literature, under the (erroneous) assumption that the name *is* valid. Thus, Chinshakiangosaurus Yeh, 1975 and Rinchenia Barsbold, 1997 qualify as _nomina nuda_.

By contrast, the mere mention of a new dinosaur genus in a newspaper article, pop-sci text, dissertation etc should *not* be grounds for regarding the name as a _nomen nudum_. Elvisaurus, Ichabodcraniosaurus and even Saltriosaurus have no more scientific standing than Big Al or Big Momma. They were clearly coined as nicknames, although (in some cases) the distinction was no doubt lost on writers who featured the names. After all, the -saurus (or -raptor) suffix appears to imply (to the uninformed) that these are "bona fide" names. Sometimes scientists are fooled: remember _Ultrasaurus tabriensis_?


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