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Re: The 'gypsy' dinosaur (was Re: new titanosaur: Atsinganosaurus velauciensis)

For those who have the paper: correct me if I am wrong, but this seems to be another case of the "all-the-material-from-this-bed-and/or-locality-is-referred-to-the-same-taxon-without-proper-justification" disease... The most relevant fact being here that the holotype consists of four articulated posterior dorsal vertebrae and, save a single isolated dorsal vertebrae, there is no overlapping with the referred material (i.e., isolated teeth, cervical, sacral, and caudal vertebrae, and a few isolated appendicular elements).

Reminds me a recent paper dealing with the identity of numerous isolated theropod appendicular elements...

Let's simplify; here is the reasoning behind such papers:
"Let A and B, such as A and B can not be compared. Now A and B resemble to C. Hence, A = B."

I am still trying to undertand how such papers could have been accepted, given they are denying the elementary principles of taxonomy. And good sense.
Maybe a Brain Spawn attack ? ><

PS: If anyone wants to check my sayings, I have the actual paper. Just ask.

Tim Williams a écrit :
The message was truncated when it arrived in my mailbox, but here are the 

Garcia, G., Amico, S., Fournier, F., Thouand, E., and Valentin, X. (2010) A new 
titanosaur genus (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) from the Late Cretaceous of southern France 
and its paleobiogeographic implications.  Bull. Soc. géol. Fr. 181: 269-277.

Abstract. "A new titanosaur, _Atsinganosaurus velauciensis_, gen. and sp. nov. is 
described from well-preserved remains from the new Upper Cretaceous locality of Velaux-La 
Bastide Neuve (Aix-en-Provence Basin, France).  This taxon is mainly diagnosed by a 
combination of characters, which differentiates it without ambiguity from other European 
Late Cretaceous taxa (_Lirainosaurus_, _Ampelosaurus_ and _Magyarosaurus_).  
_Atsinganosaurus_ confirms the presence in western Europe during the latest Cretaceous of 
a third titanosaurian species, slender and less derived which allows us to better 
understand the evolutionary and paleobiogeographical history of this group during the 

The genus name derives from the Byzantine Greek word for "gypsy", 'atsinganos' (which 
still survives in many languages in one form or another, e.g. "tsigani").  When the 
Byzantines came up with the word, it may not have been at all complimentary - the word 'atsinganos' 
is supposed to mean 'untouchable' or 'heathen'.  The gypsies (Roma) were regarded as foreign 
heretics by the medieval Byzantines.  Then again, the Byzantines were a tendentious and 
narrow-minded bunch, always banging on about heretics and heathens.  Anyway...

The specific name is in honor of the French city of Velaux (Latin Velaucio) 
from where the material was collected.  During the Late Cretaceous, it was part 
of a large Iberian-Armorican island (up to three times the size of modern 

In any case, the name _Atsinganosaurus_ ("gypsy reptile") is "in reference to the existence of Late Cretaceous migrations between western and eastern Europe revealed by these remains." Although there is no phylogenetic analysis, the authors su
osaurus_ might be closely related to _Malawisaurus_; the two are quite similar 
in many respects.  If so, _Atsinganosaurus_ documents the survival of basal 
lithostrotians late into the Cretaceous (late Campanian), which the authors 
suggest might have something to do with its island habitat.