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Re: Platecarpus tympaniticus - how to analyze a nomen dubium



2010/9/21 Tim Williams <tijawi@yahoo.com>:
> I notice _Platecarpus_ hasn't given its name to any superfamilies, families, 
> subfamilies, or tribes.  So unlike _Stegosaurus_ or _Ceratops_, its status 
> has no knock-on effects for higher-level taxonomy.

Oh yes, it has: Platecarpinae Williston, 1897 is one of the three
subdivisions of Mosasauria recognized by Williston (1897) with
Mosasaurinae and Tylosaurinae. Even if Plioplatecarpinae is currently
regarded as junior synonym of Plioplatecarpidae Dollo, 1884, it had
been erected in a widely known paper of Williston and can not be
discarded on a whim.

Williston, S.W. 1897. Range and distribution of the mosasaurs, with
remarks on synonymy. Kansas University Quarterly 6, 177-85


2010/9/22 Tim Williams <tijawi@yahoo.com>:
>
> If Marsh's _Ceratops_ type locality is ever re-discovered, and a complete 
> skull is found that matches the morphology of the _Ceratops_ type specimen, 
> then we're home and hosed.

Neotypification would be indeed the best option in this case to
stabilize and clarify the taxonomy of its relatives.

2010/9/22 Mike Taylor <mike@indexdata.com>:
>
> But we don't have to convert the rank-based name Ceratopsia, typified
> by Ceratops.  Instead we can make a brand new clade Ceratopsia,
> anchored on whatever taxa we want, named not after an included type
> but after the characteristic morphological feature of the clade's
> member, i.e. a horned face.
>
> That's what I'd do, anyway, if it fell to me.

I would suggest personally to erect a brand-new *correctly romanized*
name so that I would not have to see 'Ceratopsoidea/-idae/-inae/-ini'
or the even worse 'Ceratopsomorpha'. And all other related names such
as 'Protoceratopsidae', 'Leptoceratopsidae' and others. That would be
a great opportunity, I think.

2010/9/22 Mike Taylor <mike@indexdata.com>:

> I was talking about Ceratopsia, but since you mention Ceratopsidae,
> there's no reason we shouldn't define it as (Triceratops horridus <-
> Protoceratops andrewsi, Leptoceratops gracilis), give the etymology as
> "horned face" (not mentioning Ceratops montanus), and move on.
>
> That seems obviously The Right Thing.  The fact that the clade name
> happens to resemble the name of a dubious genus is neither here nor
> there.

I agree on that point. That's also why using Ceratopia/Ceratopidae and
so on could be wise to differentiate the Phylogenetic name from its
ill-etymologically-formed Linnean counterparts, IMHO.

-- 
Jocelyn Falconnet