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Re: Altispinax diagnosis

Simon Clabby (dinowight@yahoo.co.uk) wrote:

<Is the diagnosis given here for Altispinax consistant with the published
diagnosis, and If not, is it valid?>

  *Altispinax dunkeri* is based on a tooth, as has been indicated from
others for over 70 years (Kuhn, 1939, for example). This is based on bad
wordsmanship by von Huene, but whatever history gives us, we shall stand
by. The vertebrae noted belong to *Becklespinax altispinax* instead, and
the metatarsals belong to *Valdoraptor oweni.* It is funny to me that
Pickering should diss Olshevsky's work as _nomina nuda_, cite them as if
they were published, treat them as _nomina rejecta_ (he can't, only the
ICZN can designate taxa as rejected, and even then, he already called them
_nomina nuda_), and then place into synonymy three different species based
on three different isolated sets of bones that show NO comparative
properties whatsoever: a partial leg, a part of the vertebral column, and
teeth. Pickering's work itself has been called into question over its
validity as published work, though according to the ICZN as of 2000, this
is not much of a problem at all.

  Until further study can be used to determine its comparative value and
validity, *A. dunkeri* should not be considered to have much of a
diagnosis, and the other species should be considered at least as
equivalent until further material either supports or disproves their
synonymy. They have been named and treated separately for some time, I see
no problem continuing this.


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.

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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