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New paper: Benton on the quality of dinosaur names

This just in (FirstCite form):

Benton, M.J. 2008. Fossil quality and naming dinosaurs. Biol. Lett.


The intense interest in dinosaurs through the past 30 years might have led
to an increase in poor practice in naming new species. A review of the data
shows that the reverse is the case. For 130 years, from the 1820s to the
1950s, most new species of dinosaurs were based on scrappy and incomplete
material. After 1960, the majority of new species have been based on
complete skulls or skeletons, and sometimes on materials from several
individuals. This switch in the quality of type specimens corresponds to the
recent explosive renaissance of interest in dinosaurs, during which the
number of new species named per year has risen, from three or four in the
1950s, to thirty or more today. The pattern of specimen quality varies by
continent, with the highest proportion of new species based on good material
in North America, then Asia, then South America, then Africa and finally
Europe. This ranking reflects a complex pattern of perhaps overstudy in
Europe, immensely rich reserves of new dinosaur materials in North America
and Asia, and a relative paucity in South America and Africa.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216                        
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
Fax: 301-314-9661               

Faculty Director, Earth, Life & Time Program, College Park Scholars
Fax: 301-405-0796

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA