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Re: When carnivores kill other carnivores... (Morrison movie questions)

Dear Mike and List,

    I have a few questions and comments that will hopefully guide all on the
path to enlightenment.

> > 1) Is Saurophaganax a distinct species, or is it just a very large
> > Allosaur of another species? (And under what circumstances do you
> > capitalize the name of a species?)
> _Saurophaganax_ is unfortunately not very well known.
> _Saurophaganax_ is not a species. _Saurophaganax maximus_ (abbreviated
> _S. maximus_) is a species. As with (all too) many Mesozoic dinosaur
> genera, there's just one species in the genus (i.e., the genus is
> monotypic). Genus names are always capitalized. A species name
> consists of a genus name followed by a trivial epithet--the epithet is
> always in lower case.

> Does it matter whether _S. maximus_ is placed in _Saurophaganax_ or
> _Allosaurus_? Not really--in the end it's a matter of taste.
> (Assuming, of course, that _S. maximus_ is not synonymous with _A.
> fragilis_, the type species of _Allosaurus_.)

    Most of the Ph.D vert Paleontologists here in Utah are extremely up on
allosaurs, and are highly dubious of the Saurophaganax not being a species
of allosaurus. Paul Bybee believes, as do I, ( for what my opinion is
worth, ) that Sauro is just a big A. fragilis. I own a cast of a first digit
hand claw of what was originally called Epantarias ( sp ? ) It is enormous.
It's at least twice the size of the same claw from a 30 foot allosaur, and
three times the mass. They were definately T-rex sized. FYI, If anyone wants
to see a photo of the 1/35th scale one that I sculpted last year, email me
off list and I will send you a jpeg.

> I don't know anything about a giant Morrison _Ceratosaurus_, but
> Tendaguru seems to generally have species that are different from, if
> fairly closely related to, species from the Morrison. Ditto for the
> Lourinha Formation in Portugal.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, not only is there a giant ceratosaur
in the Morrison, a skeletal cast, along with a pretty good skull, are being
prepared for the new Cleveland / Loyd renovation, even as I type this. It is
a BYU specimen, so you might want to try their archives for more information
about it.

> On a side note, I've sometimes idly wondered whether _Allosaurus_
> might be paraphyletic with regard to carcharodontosaurids, including
> _Acrocanthosaurus_--it's certainly a common enough genus to have left
> Cretaceous descendants. That said, I have absolutely no morphological
> basis for this idea.

    I thought Acrocanthosaurs and Carcharodontosaurs were considered
Allosaurus decendants. Has that opinion shifted recently?


> Mike Keesey
> The Dinosauricon: http://dino.lm.com
> Parry & Carney: http://parryandcarney.com