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RE: Troodon v. Pectinodon
Lee Garrison wrote:
I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts regarding the taxonomic status
of _Pectinodon_. Is it now considered a junior synonym of Troodon,
Short answer: Yes. :-)
Long answer: This question is potentially more complicated. These days,
_Pectinodon_ is invariably considered a junior synonym of _Troodon_,
following Currie (1987). The type material of _Troodon formosus_ comes from
the Judith River Formation, and the type specimen of _Pectinodon bakkeri_
comes from the Lance Formation. Also referred to _Troodon formosus_ are
fossils from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation and Judith River Group of
Alberta, and (as you said) the Hell Creek Formation.
The thing is, because the type material of _Troodon_ is a single tooth, the
referral of numerous other specimens to _Troodon_ (including the type
specimens of _Stenonychosaurus_, _Polyodontosaurus_ and _Pectinodon_)
depends upon this particular tooth morphology being limited to a single
genus and species. However, if it is demonstrated that the _Troodon_ tooth
morphology is shared by more than one species, then _Troodon_ would be a
nomen dubium - as happened with _Deinodon_ and _Trachodon_ (both also from
the JRF). If this were to happen, _Pectinodon_, which is also based on
teeth, would also be a nomen dubium; whereas _Stenonychosaurus_ would
probably launch a comeback.
But this hasn't happened yet. So _Troodon_ is safe, for the time being.
Thus, _Pectinodon_ is a junior synonym of _Troodon_.
Currie, P. J. (1987). Bird-like characteristics of the jaws and teeth of
troodontid theropods (Dinosauria, Saurischia). J. Vert. Paleontol. 7: 72-81.