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Re: Gigantspinosaurus: a legit name
Yes, the article that first describes _Gigantspinosaurus_ might fulfll
(barely) the letter of the ICZN Code - if not the spirit. However, one
potential loophole is offered by Article 9 ("What does not constitute
published work"). The last provision (9.9) states: "abstracts of articles,
papers, posters, texts of lectures, and similar material when issued
primarily to participants at meetings, symposia, colloquia or congresses."
Ouyeng (1992) may fit the bill, given that the article appears in a text
"The Satellite Meeting of the First Youth Academic Annual Confereces by
Association, Abstracts and Summaries for Youth Academic Symposium on New
Ideas in Stratigraphic Paleontology, Nanjing, Dec. 1992."
I don't think that's an adequate criterion -- there are other "abstract"
volumes that contain lengthier papers (some just "extended abstracts; others
bona fide papers), but I think the question comes down to "What
differentiates an abstract from a short paper?" That is, what criteria must
a paper have that an abstract must lack? (Not saying I have an answer, but
just because a title contains the word "abstract" doesn't automatically make
all contents thereof "abstracts.")
Although it's clear that Ouyeng (1992) is more than just an abstract, it
may be that dissemination of the _Gigantspinosaurus_ description might have
been limited to attendees of this symposium. If so, it is not a valid
publication, according to Article 9.
Yeah, but it's not MUCH more than an abstract... I have a PDF of the
original thing, if anyone wants it, but there are no pictures and no
information to be gleaned from it that can't be gotten from the translation
(which isn't much in and of itself!), which I also have as an MS Word
document. Lastly, I've scanned the Jiang paper I mentioned into a PDF, so
if anyone wants it, with it's picture of _Gigantspinosaurus_ in the ground,
I'll happily disseminate that, too.
The original 1992 publication also flouts a number of Recommendations
("Wide dissemination", "Public accessibility of published works", etc) by
dint of the fact that the publication has escaped attention for so long
(Dinosauria II omits it, for example), and is almost impossible to acquire.
Still, these are just Recommendations.
Sadly, the ICZN didn't bother to define "wide" or "accessibility" (not
that it would be an easy thing to do!). For all we know, the volume _is_
relatively easy to get in China...just not in the West, and the ICZN
(wisely, I think) decided not to make the West the universal standard for
things. What is and isn't easily obtained for me (for example) may be very
easy for someone else; I don't know how a standard could be placed on
that -- to how many people/institutions, and in how many places, must a
paper be disseminated (ostensibly by the publisher) to become "wide" and
"accessible?" Believe me, I share your frustration at how difficult it is
to get a hold of some things (there are a few papers I've been trying to get
for years...!), but that doesn't automatically make them in violation of an
ICZN rule/recommendation...but only because "wide" and "accessible" don't
have anything quantified for them.
Jerry D. Harris
Director of Paleontology
Dixie State College
225 South 700 East
St. George, UT 84770 USA
Phone: (435) 652-7758
Fax: (435) 656-4022
"Trying to estimate the divergence times
of fungal, algal or prokaryotic groups on
the basis of a partial reptilian fossil and
protein sequences from mice and humans
is like trying to decipher Demotic Egyptian with
the help of an odometer and the Oxford
-- D. Graur & W. Martin (_Trends
in Genetics_ 20, 2004)