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Re: Troodon and other problems (was Andrew McDonald response re: European iguanodonts)
2011/4/4 Anthony Docimo <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
> Whether the name is disgarded or not, there will still be publications with
> that name.
> e.g., if I discover and name _Ditroodon macrodont_ and coauthor its initial
> description ("A new genus of bird-hips from the Kimmerian Horizon", A.
> Docimo, A. Tursiops)...and a later article mentions it ("A comparison of
> dietary ecology on the Kimmerian Horizon", H. Boto)..............and then
> _D.macrodont_ is found to be a _Stegosaur_.
Suppose Ditroodon is just a teeth, which is undistinguishable from
those of two stegosaur taxa (A and B) found the year after your
discovery, which are different between themselves just in features of
their vertebrae and pubis. This means that Ditroodon may just be the
tooth of A or the tooth of B, and we cannot decide what of these
Ditroodon is (of course, it may be other thing, but we cannot prove it
if its teeth are equal to those of the mentioned stegosaurs).
This also applies even if Ditroodon is 90% complete, when the
difference between similar taxa (stegosaurs A and B) from which
Ditroodon is not different, occurs in the remaining 10%.
> Does that mean that, a year later, someone else can start the cycle over and
> use the name _Ditroodon_ for a different fossil?
No, I do not mean that. I think the name would still be available, and
cannot be used to name any other animal.
2011/4/4 David Marjanovic <email@example.com>:
> What do you mean by "just discarded"? Validly published names have priority
> over junior synonyms and junior homonyms forever, unless specifically
> suppressed by an Opinion of the International Committee on Zoological
> Nomenclature against one particular junior synonym or homonym. Their
> holotypes remain holotypes forever...
Perhaps I confused terms regarding "validity". With "discarded" I just
mean the name being avoided in the literature. For example, if in
times where no other ceratopsian was known you find a ceratopsian
tooth and name it, making it the type of your taxon name, and you
later find lots of different taxa of ceratopsians all with the same
tooth morphology, the tooth you first found may be of anyone of these.
This does not mean to destroy the name, and its holotype will still be
the holotype. We just will stop talking about it because that tooth
may belong to a lot of different taxa.
I do not know if this would fit the category of nomen dubium, but I
think so because Sereno and Arcucci (1994) considered Lagosuchus
talampayensis a nomen dubium because they did not find unique
autapomorphic characters in the holotype. If some illuminated mind
then finds autapomorphies in the holotype, then the taxon should be