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Re: Stegosaur volume of Swiss Journal of Geosciences

On Thu, Sep 16, 2010 at 10:59 PM, Tim Williams <tijawi@yahoo.com> wrote:
> For the sake of stability, I really do think it is better to anchor clades in 
> well-known taxa. ÂAnd by 'well-known' I mean scientifically well-known (i.e., 
> not fragmentary).
> To that end, if it comes to pass that we have Centrosauridae instead of 
> Ceratopsidae, and Struthiomimidae instead of Ornithomimidae, and 
> Masiakasauridae instead of Noasauridae, and Sinraptoridae instead of 
> Metriacanthosauridae, then so be it. ÂIMHO, stability is more important than 
> priority.

This approach is patently UNstable, because it's always possible to
find something "better-known" than what came before. Consider
Masiakasaurus: sure, it's better-known than Noasaurus, but there are
many major elements missing. As I recall, most of the skull is not
present, there are no forelimb elements past the humerus, no ilia,
many missing vertebrae, etc. It's only a matter of time before we find
a related specimen which is more complete, and then you'll be lobbying
to change the taxon's name *again*.

(And, for that matter, it's also possible that we might find more of Noasaurus.)

T. Michael Keesey
Technical Consultant and Developer, Internet Technologies
Glendale, California