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Re: [dinosaur] Leucocephalus, new burnetiid therapsid from Late Permian of South Africa (name NOT preoccupied...)

An important update!

The generic name Leucocephalus is, in fact, NOT preoccupied by Leucocelphalus Amyot, 1846, which is an invalid name according to an ICZN opinion.

I relied on a quick check of multiple online nomenclatural resources and databases, which seemed to indicate that the generic name Leucocephalus Amyot had been validly published. However, many thanks to Chris Kammerer and Michael O. Day for clarifying the situation.Â

The French entomologist Amyot's works were put on the list of Official List of Rejected and Invalid Works in Zoological Nomenclature with Opinion 686, amended by Opinion 2165.

Opinion 686. Amyot, MÃthode mononymique: Placed on the Official Index of Rejected and Invalid Works in Zoological Nomenclature.Â
Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. 20 (6): 423. 1963.


Opinion 2165 (Case 3327). Amyot, MÃthode mononymique (1845â1847): Correction to Opinion 686.Â
Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. 63 (4): 284â285. 2006.




My apologies for jumping to a conclusion based on a quick check of the usual nomenclatural sources. I did indicate that the name "appears" to be preoccupied and had not researched the history of the name in depth. As far as I know, the ICZN has not yet posted the entire list of Rejected and Invalid Generic Names online.


On Sun, Apr 29, 2018 at 12:07 PM, Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Leucocephalus wewersi gen. et sp. nov.

Michael O. Day, Roger M. H. Smith, Julien Benoit, Vincent Fernandez & Bruce S. Rubidge (2018)
A new species of burnetiid (Therapsida, Burnetiamorpha) from the early Wuchiapingian of South Africa and implications for the evolutionary ecology of the family Burnetiidae
Papers in Palaeontology (advance online publication)

Burnetiidae is a family of basal therapsids that is known from sequences of late Permian (Lopingian) age from southern and eastern Africa and European Russia. Recent discoveries of related genera within the broader clade Burnetiamorpha have added to our understanding of morphological variation in the group but have eroded the list of characters defining the family Burnetiidae. We describe a new burnetiid taxon, Leucocephalus wewersi gen. et sp. nov., and argue that Burnetiidae can be defined by, among other characters, the presence of two bosses on the ventrolateral surface of suborbital bar and zygomatic arch, high skull angulation between the orbits, and a median frontal crest that becomes wider and lower posteriorly. The new specimen was found in the early Wuchiapingian Tropidostoma Assemblage Zone of the Main Karoo Basin and, along with previous discoveries, indicates that the family reached its greatest diversity and abundance in the early Wuchiapingian. Diversity declined into the later Wuchiapingian and Changhsingian. Although the clade Burnetiamorpha, including the family Burnetiidae, contains at least 11 genera, each of these is exceptionally rare, with most represented by only one specimen. This could be attributed to a genuine ecological characteristic or may be the result of biogeographical factors, particularly if the Main Karoo Basin was on the periphery of their range.



Unfortunately, it appears that the generic name Leucocephalus is preoccupied by an insect. The status of the genus is a bit murky, though.

Leucocephalus Amyot, 1846 (pg. 160) Hemiptera

Amyot C.-J.-B. (1846)Â
ENTOMOLOGIE FRANÃAISE. Rhynchotes (Suite) (1).Â
Annales de la SociÃtà entomologique de France (2) 4: 73â192

See also:


The generic name Leucocephalus is apparently considered a junior synonym of something. The nomenclatural history here is not easy to sort out after a quick online search. In any case, the therapsid appears to need a new generic name. Never hurts to check online databases of generic and taxonomic names before going into print...