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RE: Platecarpus tympaniticus - how to analyze a nomen dubium



Tim Williams wrote-

> > > *Ceratops*: has anyone even looked at the material in
> > > the last couple of decades?
> >
> > Wait....if nobody's looked at the material, what has this
> > discussion been running on? (theory and ideals?)
>
> Don't panic Anthony. Penkalski and Dodson (1999) provide a fairly detailed 
> description of the _Ceratops montanus_ type material. So does Ryan (2007). 
> Both studies regard the _Ceratops montanus_ material as non-diagnostic at the 
> genus or species level, and therefore the name _Ceratops montanus_ is a nomen 
> dubium.

Penkalski and Dodson write a whole three sentences of description for the type 
specimen, while Ryan includes a whopping one sentence of description.  I 
wouldn't call either of these detailed in the least and think someone should do 
a Platecarpus-style redescriptive paper on the taxon.  

While I'm here, someone suggested Deinodontidae could be a nomen oblitum.  
However, Deinodontidae was used instead of Tyrannosauridae by most authors 
until the 60's (Tyrannosauridae was named in 1906).  These included such 
established experts as Huene, Matthew and Russell.  The switch to 
Tyrannosauridae probably had as much or more to do with the influence of the 
American paleontologists Romer and Colbert than Tyrannosaurus' completeness 
compared to Deinodon.

Mickey Mortimer