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RE: The New Paper at the End of the Universe (Was: Hitchhiker's New Papers to the Galaxy)

Tim Williams (twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com) wrote:

<However, I had though that if the material from a locality or horizon can be 
referred to a single taxon (e.g., all sauropod material is consistent with a
single sauropod taxon), then it didn't matter if the type material is
diagnostic or not.  So, in this case, _Astrodon_ would be valid, and further
gets priority over _Pleurocoelus_.  In other words, if you argue (as Carpenter
and Tidwell do) that all the sauropod bones and teeth from Arundel belong to a
single species, then this sauropod would be named _Astrodon_. The alternative
is to erect a new name and attach it to a diagnostic element - but this would
seem pointless when two are already available (_Astrodon_ + _Pleurocoelus_).>

  My rule of thumb is that if it's a tooth, don't name it. If it's been named,
don't refer anything to it. If you have to refer something to it, it had better
be a tooth or contain a tooth in a jaw bone. Try not to include jaw bones that
have no teeth. If you have to ... wait, no; really, don't. Obviously, sometimes
a tooth is so exceptional, that it warrants some nomenclature, such as Irmis
and Parker's recent tooth-taxon, *Kraterokheirodon colberti*, and in this mein,
one can see how *Astrodon johnstoni* can be supported, but not as the inclusive
container of any other bones. The referal of bones, after naming at least, is
generally justified on the grounds of comparability, and I am to understand the
distinguishing of a bonebed as a type series must be done at the time the type
is designated (be it holo, syn, or lecto).

  So my argument (I think I made it in response to Tidwell and Carpenter's
paper at the time) is that *Astrodon* is simply too incomplete and limited in
diagnostic quality to justify it as possibly being referred to or having any
non-dental remains referred to it from any other taxon or remains.


Jaime A. Headden

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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