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Re: Brontosauria? Vote for Apatosauria!

Michael Mortimer (mickey_mortimer111@msn.com) wrote:

<We should be using Podokesauridae and Podokesauroidea instead of Coelophysidae
and Coelophysoidea too.  Megalosauroidea instead of Spinosauroidea. 
Metriacanthosauridae instead of Sinraptoridae.  But eh, who are we to follow
ICZN rules? ;)>

  There are hosts of ways these "should be"s can be avoided, not least of which
is simply ignoring the ones you don't like. But people may also indicate a
preference by prevalent usage, which can be taken by the ICZN as a favor of its
plenary powers. If no one contests with a reasonable case to the ICZN, then
prevalent usage doesn't need to be altered for the opinion of "it was named
first", which in the larger scheme of suprageneric constructs, is largely
pointless. The rules mandating application of type specimens and species (which
would be argued as "real") does not apply so easily to "families" and other
suprageneric taxa, so the favoring of one before the other if left to useage.
Since this useage is directly tied to the literature, the proportion of useage
and favorable reference can be counted.

  Thus, even though *Podokesaurus* is a valid entity at least via synonymy,
Podokesauridae is the same as Coelophysidae, and the latter enjoys much more
useage and thus is favored. 

  *Atlantosaurus* has long been considered a synonym of *Apatosaurus* and is
similarly discarded, especially given that the type species, *A. montanus* was
originally *Titanosaurus montanus*. Doubt over the valid nature of the type has
led to it's being placed by the wayside, so that even were it NOT considered a
synonym, the nature of the material favors a disuse of Atlantosauridae.

  Only under some phylogenies is *Metriacanthosaurus* included within a group
of theropods identified as Sinraptoridae, and the use by some of this pattern
has not been adopted, adn thus its synonymy has never been of much issue. In my
opinion, the authors should have gone with Yangchuanosauridae, since the ICZN
favors naming families after the oldest included genus, and Currie and Zhao
clearly included Yang within Sinraptoridae. The arguments of prevalent useage
also apply here.

  These are all permissible under the ICZN, so no one is abrogating the rules
for the sake of using names. And I'm sure the prevalent useage of
Hesperornithiformes, were it to be covered by the ICZN, would have similar
strength of useage than being supplanted by a non-synonymous name
Hesperornithes. Indeed, one can argue that, given current bird naming
conventions, the two are not at all referring to the same group, but this is a
matter that can only be solved if and when the PhyloCode is actually published
and the names and definitions are placed in argued order or priority via
definitions. Which, I think, is a poor method, but oh well. Ignoring prevalent
useage for the sake of a name coined earlier for which the same clade had NOT
been indicated for me isn't logical. However, since I don't use this
nomenclature that often, we'll see what happens. I'm not holding my breath.


Jaime A. Headden

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

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