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RE: Stegosaur volume of Swiss Journal of Geosciences



On Sun, 19/9/10, Anthony Docimo <keenir@hotmail.com> wrote:

>  so we call it a historical artifact.  nomeclature is full of them   
> (ie, "marsupial mice")
     

That's why we have scientific nomenclature: to avoid the problems inherent in 
common names.


>  and until the results of the final tests come in?  no offense, 


None taken.


>  but I
>  doubt you can stop everyone from talking about _Ceratops_ and 
> _Ceratopsidae_ until the last test is done.
>     
>  its like "innocent until proven guilty" -- we should assume it *is* a
>  Ceratopsid *until* proven it is not.


Instead of turning a blind eye, I'd rather see _Ceratops_'s affinities tested 
using phylogenetic analysis.  However... as Mickey has said, because the 
_Ceratops_ material is so fragmentary, it is likely that _Ceratops_ may come up 
in more than one equally parsimonious position in the cladogram - such as 
either inside or outside the clade specified by _Triceratops_ and 
_Centrosaurus_.  In this case, we're back to square one: is _Ceratops_ a 
ceratopsid or not?


Because PhyloCode requires that Ceratopsidae be defined using the name-giving 
genus as a specifier, I'd rather see the _Ceratops_ issue resolved instead of 
tip-toe-ing around it.  Instead of resorting to special pleading to keep 
Ceratopsidae alive, let's just admit it's unhelpful to define a clade using 
_Ceratops_ as a specifier.
     

Cheers

Tim