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RE: Ceratops (was RE: Pterosaur diversity (was: Re: Waimanu))

Mike Taylor wrote:

... as I explicitly did (see above). But is this really something we have a choice about? I know that people do diagnose taxa from non-type specimens, but it's not really on ... is it? Or is it?

This is more a product of history. Lydekker based _Titanosaurus indicus_ on two caudals and a femur (subsequently removed, because it came from a different stratum). Thus, these two caudals became the type specimen for _T. indicus_. But, if he had known about the rest of the titanosaur material from the Bara Simla type horizon, the type material for _T. indicus_ might have included at least some of these bones too (most of which were later described by Huene and Matley). It's not Lydekker's fault that the two caudals were the _Titanosaurus_ bones he first clapped eyes on. Now, if all the titanosaur material from the type horizon does belong to a single individual or species, then it doesn't matter what the type material is, because all this material can be combined into a hypodigm that can form the basis for a diagnosis.

To clarify, the thing I feel queasy about is not that Titanosauria is still OK (and please stop messing with my mind my introducing non-sauropod examples :-) -- it's that different rules seem to govern
Titanosauria and Titanosauridae. It's the magic in those four letters "idae" that offends me.

This is a rather peculiar quirk. ICZN rules supreme when it comes to species, genera and family-level taxa; but every other taxon is carte blanche. It's bewildering, I know. This is where my fantasy comes in. No, not the Jessica Alba/whipped cream one - the one involving stripping the ICZN of any jurisdiction over anything other than genera and species (and subgenera and subspecies too, I guess).

Truly, "idae" is a four-letter word.

I think it is appropriate to ensure that the name-giving (eponymous) genus is retained in a family.

Really? There is nothing in the PhyloCode itself that makes a special case of "idae" (nor for any other spelling convention).

I tried to make a case for why '-idae' should be treated differently...


Aha! So you're OK with genera continuing to exist, and be governed by the ICZN? (I thought I was out on a limb there.)

Perfectly. Just "hands off" everything above that. Again, just a fantasy...