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RE: Australodocus bohetii - new diplodocoid from... Africa



Mike Taylor wrote:

It's getting pretty exciting in the Late Jurassic of Tanzania. Remember that we already had the brachiosaurid _Brachiosaurus brancai_, the probable titanosaurs _Janenschia_ and _Tendaguria_ and
the diplodocine _Tornieria_. Add in the new diplodocine _Australodocus_, and the putative new brachiosaurid that I spoke about at SVPCA 2005, and we either have a collection of six neosauropods or an epidemic of oversplitting :-) (Clearly I favour the former.)

I'd bet dollars to donuts that _Janenschia_ and _Tendaguria_ eventually turn out to be one and the same. Apart from that, I don't think the Tendaguru sauropod fauna is oversplit at all.


As for _Brachiosaurus brancai_... it could be it's own genus. There's already a genus name available... darn, if only I could remember it...

(from another thread:)

And hypotheses generated by running a cladistic analysis are just as provision, just as subject to being overturned, as those generated in other ways. (The great advantage of cladistics is not really that it gives better results than any other way of hypothesising phylogeny, but that it forces you to "show your working", so that others can replicate and improve upon it.)

Beautifully said, Mike. Cladistics allows a given phylogenetic hypothesis to be tested - such as every time a new taxon (or a more complete specimen of a known taxon) is discovered.


Cladistics also helps minimize the HWF ("Hand-Waving Factor") in phylogenetic scenarios. There's still hand-waving, but it only comes after you get a phylogenetic tree. Nowadays, the tree is the foundation for constructing an evolutionary scenario, not the other way round.

Cheers

Tim

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