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Re: When carnivores kill other carnivores...

Mickey Mortimer wrote:

As I understand it, Rauhut's rationale is incorrect because Huene only conditionally proposed Altispinax for the vertebrae. He said something to the effect of "If the dorsals are found not to belong to Megalosaurus, they should be named Altispinax." Conditional naming is apparently not accepted by the ICZN.

That would mean that _Altispinax_ was never actually described by Huene in 1923. However, the name _Altispinax_ may not be a nomen nudum, if in a subsequent publication it was treated as a valid genus and accompanied by a description (much like what happened with _Jibeinia_ and _Rinchenia_). However, if it was named _Altispinax dunkeri_ in any of these publications, then the implication is that _M. dunkeri_ is the type species. Looks like I may have to brush up on my German and dust off those old papers...

Mike Keesey wrote:

This sounds questionable to me, though. If _Megalosaurus dunkeri_ is just the tooth, then either _A. dunkeri_ is the type species and the tooth is the holotype of _Altispinax_, or "Altispinax" has never been given a type species, and is therefore not an available name.

I thought that genera are available names even if they were described without a type species, if described before a certain date. (The alleged theropod _Macrodontophion_ is an example - it never got a species name.) Thus, _Altispinax_ would be valid even if no type species was designated back when Huene first coined the name. This is a separate issue from the "conditional naming" mentioned by Mickey (which I wasn't aware of). The ICZN tends to be a little more forgiving when it comes to the naming practices that occurred in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

You see, I told you the _Alltispinax_ issue was complicated. In fact, it's even more complicated than I first thought. :-)

Etymology does not guide taxonomic rules.

I know. Just look at _Vulcanodon_ and _Amygdalodon_ - two genera named after teeth that were subsequently removed from these genera.