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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 decades?

 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.