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RE: New basal dinosauriform
Interesting find. In the SOM, Nesbitt et al. argue that *alophos* should
merely be adandoned, and "parringtoni" supported; the authors nonetheless
support referral of the material from the one container to the other, despite
arguing it lacks diagnostic features, which is usually what you do when you're
trying to call something a "nomen dubium" -- whatever that is.
As it is, there is in the SOM and by use of the holotype as a referred
specimen functional referral of *alophos* to a new non-*Thecodontosaurus*
container, in which case the ICZN would strongly support use of *alophos* as
the species epithet to their new taxon. On the other hand, the authors may be
given the opportunity to realize that they cannot really do this without
attempting direct synonymy, and that holotypic material cannot merely be
removed from taxa. They may wish to clarify that they do, indeed, intend to
supplant use of *alophos* in favor of a more stable holotype, but still prefer
to think that this ambiguous specimen belongs to the material Charig had at
hand. Setting aside name/types in this manner, however, is not something one
does just because, in a paper, but rather must be done through the ICZN.
I will argue now that when this name is "effectively" published (I know, I
know) that *alophos* is the "correct" epithet to the binomen. Is there another
wrinkle to this?
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
> Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2012 11:53:37 +1100
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: New basal dinosauriform
> David Marjanovic <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > Oh yes, and it makes me happy that it's finally out after about 60 years.
> To put this in a historical context, when _Nyasasaurus_ was first
> described (but not formally named), there was not yet a Tanzania. It
> was still the British territory of Tanganyika.
> > :-) And the beastie has an interesting phylogenetic position (or two), too!
> Indeed. It also emphasizes just how rare dinosaurs (and dinosaur-like
> dinosauriforms) were in the Middle Triassic. Not as rare as Middle
> Triassic pterosauromorphs though (zero discoveries so far).
> _Thecodontosaurus alophos_ (named by Haughton, 1932) is referred by
> Nesbitt et al. to their new taxon _Nyasasaurus parringtoni_. So
> shouldn't the name be _Nyasasaurus alophos_...? (Unless _T. alophos_
> is a nomen nudum.)
> Also, _Nyasasaurus_ is diagnosed based on a unique combination of
> characters, some of which may be plesiomorphic for clades "just
> outside or within Dinosauria" (Nesbitt et al., 2012). This is fine by
> me, because a genus can be diagnosed in the absence of autapomorphies;
> so _Nyasasaurus_ is a valid genus in my book. However, _Lagosuchus
> talamapeyensis_ was regarded as a nomen dubium for much the same
> reason (Sereno & Arcucci, 1994): the holotype of _Lagosuchus_ has no
> autapomorphies, and its combination of characters (which can
> distinguish it from other basal dinosauriforms, like _Marasuchus_) are
> plesiomorphic for various ornithodiran clades. So if _Nyasasaurus_ is
> a valid genus (and I have no doubt that it is), then so is
> _Lagosuchus_ (contra Sereno & Arcucci, 1994).