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The disagreement is over whether the rule of law, established and enforced in
the past, should be set aside for the sake of preference for a name that is
_popular_. We see the opposite in *Drosophila melangogaster* pushed to
*Sophophora melanogaster* only because the preponderance of revised
nomenclature far outweight (seemingly) the value in renaming the taxa. Setting
aside the rules to favor preference (the case if *Manospondylus gigas* was ever
validly diagnosable) would fly in the face of those rules being purported as
"good" enough for said scientists to appeal to.
It is in cases like this that I would tend to favor usage of *Rioarribasaurus
colberti* for the Ghost Ranch taxon _as long as_ the holotype of *Coelophysis
bauri* was undifferentiable from at least two other taxa. (And let's give this
"rule" its due, it really should be worded that way on the case of diagnosis --
I think Mickey was the first to formulate this argument, correct me if I am
Mike Taylor dismisses *Manospondylus gigas* as an historical relic, but
that's not even true as I see it: It is included in almost every syst.paleo.
work dealing with *Tyrannosaurus rex*, in every work detailing the history and
value of paleontological collection, the types of specimens set up as
holotypes, etc. If it can be argued about which set of undiagnostic caudal
vertebra were the basis of various English sauropod taxa, then they have as
little value as *Manospondylus gigas* and we can name new taxa and avoid the
massive confusion in the literature were names like *medius* and *oxoniensis*
are used for different, sometimes conglomerated, taxa.
Simply setting aside _all_ undiagnostic material and the nomenclature bases
upon them should substantively alter our nomenclatural systems. We would lose
*Iguanodon* (or at least, this would have been the case before a new type
species was designated, a decision favoring a Belgian taxon over the original
English one), *Cetiosaurus*, *Titanosaurus*, *Coelophysis*, *Allosaurus*,
*Troodon*, etc. This would avoid the issue of allowing partial, crappy material
be the essential basis of nomenclature (as with *Manospondylus gigas*) and
enforce the usage of good, detailed and diagnostic material instead. This
serves science; the alternative does not.
Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)
"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)
"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2011 22:57:34 +0000
> Subject: Re: terminology
> To: email@example.com
> CC: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Whatever taxonomic disagreements might exist between hominim
> palaeontologists, there is no such disagreement over dinosaur
> palaeontologists over Tyrannosaurus and Manospondylus. Everyone --
> everyone -- prefers the former name. The latter is only ever
> mentioned as a "did you know that Tyrannosaurus ..." trivium, and
> otherwise has no presence at all in scientific contexts. So: if the
> ICZN were to mandate the use of Manospondylus, they would be wrong,
> simple as that. They'd be ignored, and the people ignoring them would
> be right to do so.
> The ICZN is not magical. It's not a priesthood bearing the very words
> of Zeus carved on stone tablets. It's just a bunch of scientists,
> exactly like us except that they don't specialise in dinosaurs.
> -- Mike.
> On 21 January 2011 21:57, Jaime Headden wrote:
> > In this case, then, it is science bowing to art. Not following the ICZN
> > in this case would be a case of rejecting them; should they then choose to
> > follow some provisions of the Code while ignoring others, the whole point
> > of the Code (any of it) will be lost, and Chaos becomes the practitioner's
> > friend. Imagine if the prevailing usage, despite correction and appeal of a
> > limited few, supported *Brontosaurus* over *Apatosaurus*, including over
> > the protest of Jack McIntosh at the time this issue was most recently
> > _public_? What if Bakker had his way and we all used the latter name in all
> > papers? The ICZN would bow to prevailing usage, and I suspect it will do so
> > here because the scientists at hand refuse to consider the stability of
> > nomenclature to be its own goal.
> > We can see this with the australopithecine-hominine groups of hominids,
> > where a select few can enter such a sustained ideological refusal to
> > acknowledge taxonomic usage that it will be disruptive to the ability to
> > communicate about the groups in question. And I'm not even talking about
> > religion, I'm talking paleoanthropologists rejecting each others'
> > taxonomies for the sake of their own.
> > Cheers,
> > Jaime A. Headden
> > The Bite Stuff (site v2)
> > http://qilong.wordpress.com/
> > "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)
> > "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
> > different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
> > has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
> > his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion
> > Backs)
> > ----------------------------------------
> >> Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2011 16:49:29 +0000
> >> From: email@example.com
> >> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> >> CC: email@example.com
> >> Subject: Re: terminology
> >> On 21 January 2011 16:45, T. Michael Keesey wrote:
> >> > On Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 5:28 AM, Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:
> >> >>
> >> >> And let us remember: the Code serves Science, Science doesn't serve the
> >> >> Code.
> >> >
> >> > Tell that to Drosophila melanogaster! ;)
> >> >
> >> > (Drosophila hasn't been sunk, but D. melanogaster probably belongs to
> >> > Sophophora instead. A petition to make D. melanogaster the type was
> >> > denied.)
> >> Sure. But from what I hear, kinds of people who write papers about
> >> fruit flies are going right on calling it D. melanogaster anyway.
> >> Which just goes to prove that when the Code _doesn't_ serve science,
> >> science just ignores it and gets on with its job. Hence the title of
> >> my (2009) paper in the Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature,
> >> "Electronic publication of nomenclatural acts is inevitable, and will
> >> be accepted by the taxonomic community with or without the endorsement
> >> of the Code".
> >> -- Mike.