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Pickering's nomina nuda (was RE: Rob Gay's print-on-demand publication of Kayentavenator elysiae

Jaime Headden <qi_leong@hotmail.com> wrote:

> As noted by Tim, Pickering's works are produced in a
> fashion that prohibits access to them, a clear violation of
> two of the ICZN's requirements for publication
> (accessibility, and deposition), and by this reason are
> regarded by the majority (if not all but a very small
> number) of workers.

I really didn't think that *anyone* accepts Pickering's proposed new genera 
("Walkersaurus") and species ("Elaphrosaurus philtippetensis", "Tyrannosaurus 
stanwinstonorum", etc) as valid.  Even George Olshevsky, who has erected 
several dinosaurs names via self-publication, regards Pickering's names as 
nomina nuda (e.g., see http://www.polychora.com/dinolist.html).

Pickering's self-published 'works' typically take the form of paranoid rants 
that cover a wide range of topics, from national socialism to Sigmund Freud to 
King King; the new dinosaur names are inserted as a kind of afterthought.  
However, neither the deplorable and self-indulgent quality of his works, nor 
the fact that the works were self-published, are the reasons why Pickering's 
names are universally held to be nomina nuda.  As Jaime says, it is because 
Pickering made no attempt to establish a permanent scientific record.  It 
appears that his 'works' (newsletters) were sent unsolicited to various 
paleontologists (and others, such as Steven Spielberg), and therefore qualify 
only as private correspondence.

Thus, when Roger Benson erected the new genus _Duriavenator_ for _Megalosaurus 
hesperis_, the fact that Pickering had previously named the same species 
"Walkersaurus" had no impact at all on priority, because "Walkersaurus" was a 
nomen nudum. 

Nevertheless, it is a frightening thought that if Pickering had bothered to 
deposit his 'works', and made them accessible, that we might have been stuck 
with all his horrible monikers ("Elaphrosaurus philtippetensis", and so on).  
Then again, the more likely outcome is that subsequent workers would have 
ignored his plethora of names in their own publications - w
o have happened anyway.