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Re: New papers in Geobios (and nomenclatoral gripe)

--- gerarus@westnet.com.au wrote:

>     Unfortunately, this paper follows the not-uncommon, but invalid,
> practice of thinking that a _nomen dubium_ doesn't compete
> nomenclatorially - it does. If the type material for _Mochlodon_
> falls within what is currently called _Zalmoxes_, the genus should be
> called _Mochlodon_, not _Zalmoxes_ - even if we can't put the type
> material in a reliable position as regards species. The authors seem
> to feel that _Mochlodon_ is unusable because the specific specimen
> designated as lectotype doesn't exhibit characters distinguishing it
> from _Rhabdodon_ rather than _Zalmoxes_, but the hypodigm as a whole
> (which they think is probably from a single individual) does show
> distinguishing characters at the generic level.

While Christopher raised a good objection in this nomenclatural mess, it's my 
feeling that to
follow so would do no good and take us backwards here & not promote 
nomenclatural stability. 
Lets just play this out & see what happens:  - Make _Zalmoxes_ a junior synonym 
of _Mochlodon_. 
The type species would have to be _M. suessi_. Hence the type species of 
_Mocholodon_ is anchored
on a the poorly known _M. suessi_ and the better known _M. robustus_ & _M. 
shpiperorum_ are
referred species. So then any meaningful comparisons, diagnoses & phylogenetic 
commentary on
Rhabdodontids would be between _Rhabdodon priscus_, _M. robustus_ and _M. 
shpiperorum_. Eventually
this would necessitate that _M. robustus_ and _M. shpiperorum_ be given ther 
own genus (or genera)
The fact remains that the *lectotype* of _M. suessi_ shows no diagostic 
characters at the generic
level to assign it to _Rhabdodon_ or _Zalmoxes_.  Nopsca noted this years ago 
and that was his
reason for referreing _Mochlodon_ to _Rhabdodon_.  The tendancy to assign _M. 
suessi_ to
_Zalmoxes_ sp by Sachs & Hornung was based on the resemblances of the referred 
material from
Austria to _Zalmoxes_, not on the lectotype.  If we were to base our 
nomenclatural arguements on
the lectotype, Nopsca's idea also be an option - _M. suessi_ is not diagostic 
at the generic level
therefore all species of _Mochlodon_ are referred to _Rhabdodon_.  This doesn't 
seem like a viable
option to follow. To refer the species of _Zalmoxes_ to _Rhabdodon_ would go 
full circle.
Weishampel and Co seem to have got it right in establishing _Zalmoxes_ - 
_Zalmoxes robustum_ is
well known (comparatively), based on abundent materials and can be compared to 
and differentiated
from _Rhabdodon priscus_.

> A couple of other nomenclatorial issues are worth mentioning in
> relation to the taxonomic history on p. 417. _Mochlodon robustum_ was
> originally published as a synonym of _M. suessi_ (if I interpret the
> article correctly), and is only available if it was used a valid name
> prior to 1961 (ICZN Article 11.6.1). 

_M. robustum_ (or _robustus_) was proposed in 1902 and subsequently used 
throughout the early part
of  the last century by Nopsca in many of his papers. Probably, it was used by 
other authors to. 
So it's validity is fine.
Also, i don't believe it was proposed as a synonym for _Mocholodon suessi_. 
Material from Hateg
was (?arbitarily) referred to _Mocholodon suessi_ (type from Austria)and to a 
new species, _M.
robustum_. It was much later that he considered _Mochlodon_ & _Rhabdodon_ 
synoynyms, possibly
including the species. However use of subspecies-like names were also common. A 
1923 paper by
Nopsca refers to the Hateg material as "_Mochlodon suessi_ var. _robustum_".

In relation to _Camptosaurus
> inkeyi_ having page priority over the name it is usually regarded as
> a synonym of, I should remind you that 'page priority', while a long
> tradition, doesn't have any official standing, and relative priority
> of two names published at the sae time is determined by the choice of
> the first reviewer to regard them as synonymous.

_Camptosaurus inkeyi_ does indeed have page priority over _M. robustus_ in an 
1899 paper, however
in that paper _M. robustus_ was proposed as a nomen nudum, and should be 
disregarded. The only
comparison for synonymy would be _Camptosaurus inkeyi_ 1899 vs _M. robustus_ 
1902. _Camptosaurus
inkeyi_ is so poorly known, that it is hard to consider it anything but a nomen 


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