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Re: tiny-armed theropods



Well, it seems patently absurd to us now. But in the 1960s when some
scientists essentially unilaterally decided that the widely used name
Deinodontidae was not based on a sufficient enough holotype to be
worthy of priority, it may have seemed equally absurd to replace it
with newcomer Tyrannosauridae as replacing Troodontidae with
Stenonychosauridae would seem to us today, despite being identical
situations.

It's worth remembering that our current "stable" names became that way
after unseating previously stable names, sometimes a matter of a
decade or two ago (anybody remember Podokesauridae, which was
supplanted by Coelophysidae in the early 1990s for no discernible
reason)? As far as I know, PhyloCode has no mechanism to preserve this
traditional practice of influential researchers arbitrarily replacing
stable names with names that they like better. What's a paleontologist
in 2100 to do if he suddenly gets the gut feeling that
_Therizinosaurus_ is a poor holotype and that the group should
obviously be called Nothronychidae?

Matt

On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 2:42 AM, Tim Williams <tijawi@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Personally, I don't think the ICZN should be in the business of
> governing family-level taxa.  Sticking simply with genera and species
> should keep the ICZN busy enough.  It's patently absurd that strict
> application of the Code would mean that Deinodontidae has priority
> over Tyrannosauridae, and Atlantosauridae has priority over
> Diplodocidae.
>