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Re: Dinosaur a tecnical term; fish is not (was RE: Fish with milk (Sheesh spinoff))

On 27/10/2006, at 2:17 PM, evelyn sobielski wrote:

But as I understand it, not being a taxonomist
myself, we no longer
require that the type species is the most "typical"
of the genus.

Common fallacy - it never really was like that. The type taxon is a label-bearer, nothing more and nothing less. The initial idea may have been to choose type taxa that are "typical", but it was quickly abandoned as uttlery unworkable b/c it turned out that it could not be foreseen which taxa would eventually come to be placed in a genus and thus it was impossible to tell whether one of the known ones was "typical".

Of course, but you just contradicted yourself in the space of one sentence. It *was* like that (and if memory serves, that's what Linnaeus tried to do). Yes it was unworkable pretty quickly, but that is what typology was about.

Neither have holotypes to be in any way "typical". They, too, are something to which the name is permanently attached (barring complete invalidation, which is not simply placing-into-synonymy).

I think that type specimens came a bit later, around the end of the 18thC.

So "Limnornis" as described by Kessler & Jurcsak in 1984 was a number of dinosaur (possibly avian) bones and the holotype was a partial femur. However, Limnornis is already in use (for some SAm suboscines) and hence the genus name had to be replaced. They ultimately had to settle for Palaeocursonis, because the Eurolimnornis they originally would have wanted was validly described by them - and attached to a humerus from their "Limnornis" material, which turned out to be from another critter.


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-- John S. Wilkins, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Biohumanities Project University of Queensland - Blog: evolvethought.blogspot.com "Darwin's theory has no more to do with philosophy than any other hypothesis in natural science." Tractatus 4.1122