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Re: Australian dino naming

chris writes:

While on the topic of dino naming, I have a question.

I recently purchased AMAZING FACTS ABOUT AUSTRALIAN DINOSAURS by S. Hocknull and A. Cook and a number of species have generic names e.g. Titanosaur, theropod dinosaur, pterosaur, Richmond pliosaur, freshwater plesiosaur, ankylosaur, allosauroid etc. Is there a reason the naming process hasn't proceeded further in these cases?

Three possible reasons:

(1). Many fossils are too fragmentary and/or undiagnostic to be formally named. I think everyone would agree that putting names to the likes of *Rapator* and *Walgettosuchus* was a bad idea. As far as I know, freshwater plesiosaur remains are all isolated teeth from the Victorian sites.

(2). It can take decades from initial discovery for a specimen to be prepared, described and published. The Richmond pliosaur and the more recent Queensland ?titanosauriforms (Elliot, Mary, and friends) will almost certainly be formally described in the future. Eric the pliosaur was found in 1987, but not formally described (as *Umoonasaurus*) until 2006. *Minmi* was found in 1964, but not described until 1980. Muttaburrasaurus: 1963 to 1981. So there's typically a 15-20 year gap between discovery and formal description these days. Of course back in the 20s and 30s they would have been prepared and described within a year or two (*Austrosaurus* was described the year it was found).

(3). Some of the more unpronouncable names may have been omitted from the book, if it was targetted at a wider non-professional audience. However I suspect that the first two points account for most of the non-formal names you mentioned.


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist         http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://heretichides.soffiles.com