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Re: Alamosaurus as biggest North American sauropod



On Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 7:58 PM, Jaime Headden <qi_leong@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>   The best strategy, in my opinion, is to simply do away with crap taxa. If 
> you base your nomen on crap, and you can't distinguish it from two or more 
> taxa (MMM = Mickey Mortimer's metric), regardless of its provenance, horizon, 
> or the authors' preclusions about its ontogeny or gender, then that nomen 
> deserves to be relegated to the annals of me laughing at you (the nomen, not 
> the descriptors).

This is completely unsustainable and revisionist. _Titanosaurus
indicus_ was not a "crap taxon" when it was described. It was
perfectly diagnosable relative to knowledge of sauropods *at that
time*. A century of further discoveries rendered it "crap" *in
comparison to* more and better finds.

By this philosophy, we should never name any fossil taxa (or many
modern taxa for that matter) for fear that further research may render
previously diagnostic characters uninformative. Think the holotype of
_Tyrannosaurus_ is diagnostic? What if in ten years we find that, say,
the number of metacarpals varies between species of tyrannosaurines?
Or we find mummified specimens showing that some had different
patterns of squamation that could not be predicted by osteology? Even
if none of those specimens and no variation can be found within the
same geographic or stratigraphic level as the holotype, is the
_Tyrannosaurus_ then a declared a "crap taxon"?

Matt