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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 entitled:

"The Satellite Meeting of the First Youth Academic Annual Confereces by Chinese Science
Association, Abstracts and Summaries for Youth Academic Symposium on New Discoveries and
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
Science Building
225 South 700 East
St. George, UT  84770   USA
Phone: (435) 652-7758
Fax: (435) 656-4022
E-mail: jharris@dixie.edu
and     dinogami@gmail.com
http://cactus.dixie.edu/jharris/

"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
English Dictionary."
-- D. Graur & W. Martin (_Trends
in Genetics_ 20[2], 2004)