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Re: Platecarpus tympaniticus - how to analyze a nomen dubium
*Deinodon*: isn't Deinodontidae a nomen oblitum anyway? If nobody has
used it for 100 years (and remember, it's 2010 already, and
*Tyrannosaurus* was named in 1905), it's gone, it doesn't compete for
synonymy (and I think even for homonymy) anymore.
*Ceratops*: has anyone even looked at the material in the last couple of
Taxonomy is not just about compiling lists. It's a way of
classifying real species. If we cannot demonstrate that _S. armatus_
was a separate species (because the type material cannot be
distinguished from diagnostic _Stegosaurus_ species) then the taxon
is toast. P here's no good evidence that this ever represented a
real species, then let it go.
"Real", or "species"?
You imply a morphological species concept here (or, more likely, all of
them). What if I happen to prefer a "biological" or ecological one? Then
I'm out of luck, because such concepts cannot be applied to stegosaurids
as we know them today (and indeed to almost all extinct organisms). In
that case, I can either pretend that some morphological concept or other
is a good approximation of whatever I prefer, but then I'd be lying to
myself*; or I can stop worrying about species and talk about
morphological LITUs** instead. _Except_ that the ICZN doesn't let me
choose the second option. It stupidly insists that every organism that
is to be classified at all must be referred to a species. The PhyloCode
can't come soon enough.
* Depending on the species concept, there are from 101 to 249 endemic
bird species in Mexico. A factor of almost 2.5.
** Least Inclusive Taxonomic Units -- the smallest recognizable clades.