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Re: Stegosaur volume of Swiss Journal of Geosciences
T. Michael Keesey <email@example.com> wrote:
> > 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. IMHO, 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.
True. But in the case of _Ceratops_, this was inevitable. _Ceratops_ is a
lousy genus to anchor a clade in, irrespective of whether it's a nomen dubium
or not. _Ceratops montanus_ may be a nomen dubium; or we may be able to glean
enough characters to diagnose a valid taxon. Either way, _Ceratops_ is a crap
genus to name a whole family after.
> Consider Masiakasaurus: sure, it's better-known than Noasaurus, but
> there are many major elements missing.
Of course, these are all judgement calls. The issue boils down to this: Do you
think a given genus is sufficiently well-known to be the name-giver for a
clade? This is when experience comes into play. Experience should be the
principal arbiter of naming clades - instead of citing ICZN rules about
this-or-that family having priority because a 19th century paleontologist
erected the family 150 years ago.