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Re: Having your ideas published without attribution, and having your names with priority ignored

Jaime Headden <qi_leong@hotmail.com> wrote:

>   The "Dinosaur Muscuem Journal," volume "1", not being some sort of "good" 
> journal is irrelevant. Zoology has seen worse crap get "published", and later 
> recognized
> despite the questionability of it medium. The ICZN doesn't care. I argue that 
> the book should be accepted, regardless of any technical or ... well, other 
> issues it may
> have. There has been a systematic ignorance of this work in recent 
> literature: ignoring *Scansoriopteryx heilmannii,* *Omnivoropteryx 
> sinousaorum,* whatever. Bennett
> published a review on *Utahdactylus katae* (2007: 
> http://dx.doi.org/10.1671%2F0272-4634%282007%2927%5B257%3AROUFTJ%5D2.0.CO%3B2)
>  in the very journal
> Gao et al. appears in. The editors are not afraid to mention the taxa, 
> authors should not themselves be afraid to use the nomenclature, especially 
> if it is their intention to
> sink it: *Cryptovolans pauli* into *Microraptor zhaoianus* (especially now 
> that *gui* into *zhaoianus* has been formally qualified by Turner et al.), 
> *Omnivoropteryx
> sinousaorum* into *Sapeornis chaoyangensis*. I don't care what name actually 
> gets used for a valid taxon.
>   And you shouldn't care.

Jaime, I'm not saying that the DMJ and its contents should be
blacklisted.  I'm merely saying that researchers should be allowed to
exercise some discretion in deciding which family-level names should
be nominated as clades (or potential clades) for phylogenetic
taxonomy.  Sapeornithidae is preferable to Omnivoropterygidae as a
clade name.

This is not a radical suggestion: this kind of discretion is already
fairly prevalent in paleontology.  We use Diplodocidae rather than
Atlantosauridae, Coelophysidae over Podokesauridae, etc etc.  Clades
named after a taxon should use that taxon in the definition (as
Diplodocidae does: _Diplodocus_ not _Dicraeosaurus_, after Sereno 1998
& Taylor and Naish, 2005).  From this perspective, Sapeornithidae
(which would be defined with reference to _Sapeornis_) is preferable
to Omnivoropterygidae (which would be defined with reference to

>  Rather, you should, but for this reason: If you name a taxon, what should 
> prevent me from ignoring YOURS?

If I named a taxon based on an illegally obtained specimen, and
described the specimen in a self-published journal (thereby bypassing
peer review), I'd say I'd only have myself to blame.

>   Stop playing politics, and cite the effing book.

Cite the book, by all means.  I agree that Gao et al. could at least
have mentioned the type specimen of _Omnivoropteryx sinousaorum_, and
cited the original description.  Nevertheless, I think Gao (and
others) are within their rights to choose Sapeornithidae as the name
of the family that includes _Sapeornis_ and _Omnivoropteryx_, rather
than the earlier-named Omnivoropterygidae.  It's only because the name
has -idae at the end of it that puts these family-level names within
the nominal jurisdiction of the ICZN in the first place.  We don't
have this nomenclatural issue with Sapeornithiformes vs
Omnivoropterygiformes, for example.  But because Sapeornithidae and
Omnivoropterygidae both end in -idae, we get entangled in the ICZN and
its outdated (and erratically applied) Code.

I openly admit I'm being subjective here.  My reasoning is not based
on spite, but on a sense of fair play.  The description of
_Omnivoropteryx_ was shoddy, and the circumstances surrounding the
fossil were... well, you know.  We may be forced to accept the
nomenclatural validity of the genus _Omnivoropteryx.  But there is
more discretion in which family-level names are used in phylogenetic
taxonomy.  I'm arguing that that, in the case of Sapeornithidae vs
Omnivoropterygidae, that this discretion should be exercised.

Mickey Mortimer <mickey_mortimer111@msn.com> wrote:

> Honestly, the flouting of the ICZN isn't my biggest worry.  As you say, none 
> of us uses Deinodontidae (though we
>  should!).

We should?  Why?

> What's concerning is that instead of honestly mentioning Omnivoropteryx and 
> saying the authors prefer to ignore it and its
> family due to ethical issues regarding its import into the US, they pretend 
> it doesn't exist.

This is a different issue, and I agree with you here.  The
_Omnivoropteryx_ specimen has become the proverbial fart in the
elevator.  Everybody knows it's there, but we'd much prefer if it
would just go away.  But _Omnivoropteryx_does exist, and we might as
well talk about it.  I've nothing against DMJ papers being cited, or
the featured specimens and names being discussed in the literature.
But that doesn't mean I like the idea of names proposed in this
"journal" getting any more free press.  To that end, I'm happy to see
Omnivoropterygidae sunk in favor of Sapeornithidae.