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Re: Rhinorex, new hadrosaurid from Upper Cretaceous of central Utah (free pdf)



Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


Searching the Internet, the name Rhinorex currently brings up hits on
Facebook, online gamers, etc.--all in no way connected with the new
hadrosaur taxon Rhinorex. It invites a question about choosing
scientific names. While it's required to avoid preoccupied names under
ICZN rules, maybe trying to avoid nonscientific Internet alias names
might be a useful practice too to assure better search results when
looking for info on a taxon.

I remember some years ago suggesting that the spelling Khaan be used
for the Mongolian oviraptorid rather than "Khan"--a very common
Latin-spelling for a surname in some parts of the world. My thought
was that searching scientific databases for papers mentioning the
taxon might bring up papers on totally different topics written by
people named Khan either as authors or referenced in the text. The
spelling Khaan was less common and was the direct transcription into
Latin letters from the Soviet-era Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet form.

I was consulted recently about a new generic name for a yet-to-be
described taxon. A number of possible names that seemed appropriate
came up and had not been used previously in zoological nomenclature.
However, when I checked some of the names in various search engines on
the Internet, I got multiple hits for aliases people had adopted as
bloggers or Twitter users, or on Facebook or for YouTube postings.
Thus one name that seemed perfectly suitable brought up puppy videos
by someone who had invented (by pure coincidence) an alias ending in
"-saurus" with no connection with the word roots used for the proposed
new taxon name. In fact, using "saurus" as a suffix is a fairly common
practice to indicate some kind of personal interest or obsession
(Cinemasaurus, etc.)). In this case, though, the first part of the
name in "saurus" was evidently from some obscure personal source.

It's admittedly a minor point.  And, of course, it's always possible
that someone will adopt the name of a new taxon as an alias after the
name is published.

As a kludge, combining the generic name of a taxon with some
additional detail (geologic time period, type of animal) might assure
that the top search results are about the taxon and not alias bycatch.
(Including the species name would probably restrict the results too
much, since the generic name is likely to be mentioned much more often
in technical literature or blogs.)

I'm curious if the issue of Internet search interference from alias
names should matter or not. Is it just an inconvenience, a total
non-issue,  or worth considering when composing a new scientific name?

On Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 9:27 AM, Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:
> Ben Creisler
> bcreisler@gmail.com
>
> A new online paper:
>
> Terry A. Gates & Rodney Scheetz (2014)
> A new saurolophine hadrosaurid (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) from the
> Campanian of Utah, North America.
> Journal of Systematic Palaeontology (advance online publication)
> DOI:10.1080/14772019.2014.950614
> http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14772019.2014.950614#.VBm1mfldXTo
>
>
>
> A new hadrosaurid is described from the Upper Cretaceous Neslen
> Formation of central Utah. Rhinorex condrupus gen. et sp. nov. is
> diagnosed on the basis of two unique traits, a hook-shaped projection
> of the nasal anteroventral process and dorsal projection of the
> posteroventral process of the premaxilla, and is further
> differentiated from other hadrosaurid species based on the morphology
> of the nasal (large nasal boss on the posterodorsal corner of the
> circumnarial fossa, small protuberences on the anterior process,
> absence of nasal arch), jugal (vertical postorbital process),
> postorbital (high degree of flexion present on posterior process), and
> squamosal (inclined anterolateral processes). This new taxon was
> discovered in estuarine sediments dated at approximately 75 Ma and
> just 250 km north of the prolific dinosaur-bearing strata of the
> Kaiparowits Formation, possibly overlapping in time with Gryposaurus
> monumentensis. Phylogenetic parsimony and Bayesian analyses associate
> this new taxon with the Gryposaurus clade, even though the type
> specimen does not possess the diagnostic nasal hump of the latter
> genus. Comparisons with phylogenetic analyses from other studies show
> that a current consensus exists between the general structure of the
> hadrosaurid evolutionary tree, but on closer examination there is
> little agreement among species relationships.