Michael Mortimer | 1 Oct 01:58 2010
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RE: Princeton Field Guide


Since I was one of those who originally commented on the book
(http://dml.cmnh.org/2010May/msg00285.html and
http://theropoddatabase.blogspot.com/2010/08/gsps-new-taxon-combinations-from-his.html), I
suppose I'll reply to the relevent responses.

Gregory Paul wrote-

> The book is a POPULAR work entirely in the style of a field guide for birds
> or mammals. So it does not include specimen numbers, diagnoses or the like
> and I don’t want to hear about it. It was enough to get the project done as
> it is what with all the illustrations. The anatomical descriptions are of
> the informal nature seen in field guides. A technical book with specimen
> numbers, diagnoses and the like would be a very different, more massive and bar
> ely sellable work, and require far too much work. Even a version of PDW
> expanded to all dinosaurs would be massive and unsellable in the trade market. (As
> it was Don Glut’s encyclopedias made doing the book vastly easier than it
> otherwise would have been.)

I take the point regarding specimen numbers and a lack of technical description, but my main point
stands.  Field guides' primary purpose is to allow readers to identify taxa, and so actually consist
mostly of diagnoses.  You open up an Audubon guide to birds and you see pictures with diagnostic features
highlighted, and a long list of distinguishing characters for each species.  As I said before-

As it is, it's like opening a Peterson Field Guide 
to American birds and seeing the American Robin described only as having a 
ruddy breast, while the wood thrush, varied thrush and veery are merely said to 
be "standard for songbirds."  As for Bicknell's thrush?  Insufficient 
information.

(Continue reading)

David Marjanovic | 1 Oct 02:06 2010
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Re: Princeton Field Guide

  > And don’t get me started with what is going on about all the stuff
>  being tossed into Mamenchisaurus and Omeisaurus.

Oh yeah. I'd love to see a phylogenetic analyses of the 10 or so 
"species" that have ended up, seemingly at random, in these two "genera".

>  There are a few properly handled dinosaur genera that include a
>  normal, large number of species such as Psittacosaurus, Apatosaurus
>  (some species not yet named), Diplodocus (ditto). But dinopaleo has
>  gotten into the bad habit of usually making almost every species
>  into its own genus. This is illogical considering that many modern
>  bird and mammals contain large numbers of species – Varanus (now
>  formally includes Megalania), Panthera, Felis, Canis, Vulpes,
>  Cervus, Tragelaphus, Cephalophus, Ovis, Gazella, Macropus,
>  Balaenoptera, Buteo, Falco, Anas.

*Varanus* is a nightmare with 70 species. The sooner it gets blasted to 
tiny bits, the better. (We can't simply use the existing subgenera 
because there's no evidence they're monophyletic.) And this goes triply 
and quadruply for *Anolis*, the excruciatingly bad joke with 300 species.

*Felis* has been shrinking for decades. *Panthera* contains species that 
are really hard to tell apart based on bones alone. *Gazella* and 
*Macropus* should be fragmented, and *Anas* is something of a joke, 
IIRC; I don't know the others well.

I note you don't mention *Bufo* and *Rana* (they're neither birds nor 
mammals, but neither is *Varanus*). Both have been blown to pieces recently.

>  I see that ceratopsid genera are now actually being defined entirely
(Continue reading)

Anthony Docimo | 1 Oct 02:27 2010
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RE: Princeton Field Guide


----------------------------------------
> Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2010 23:10:05 +0100
> From: mike <at> indexdata.com
> To: keenir <at> hotmail.com
> CC: dinosaur <at> usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Princeton Field Guide
>
> On 30 September 2010 23:03, Anthony Docimo wrote:
> >> Subject: Re: Princeton Field Guide
> >>
> >> On 30 September 2010 21:13, wrote:
> >> > Now that the field guide is out and about some comments.
> >> >
> >> > The book is a POPULAR work entirely in the style of a field guide for birds
> >> > or mammals. So it does not include specimen numbers, diagnoses or the like
> >> > and I don’t want to hear about it.
> >>
> >> Then how can it possibly be an appropriate venue to do wholesale
> >> taxonomic reassignments?
> >
> > he said "popular" and "in the style of a field guide".
> >
> > if I'm reading _Amphibians of North Carolina_, it isn't to see which supragenus the lungless
salamanders are in this week.
>
> Unless I'm misunderstanding you, that is pretty much the point I was making.

Oh.

(Continue reading)

Dan Chure | 1 Oct 02:46 2010

Re: Princeton Field Guide

  "*Anolis*, the excruciatingly bad joke with 300 species."

Well there are 200+ species of the freshwater antiarch placoderm 
Bothriolepis.   Granted they are not all contemporaneous, but still that 
is alot of species for one genus of fish.  I'm not a placodem guy 
(although I think they are quite cool animals) but from what I've read 
of the antiarch literature there seems to be little interest in revising 
the genus and most species seem to be considered valid.  I suppose fish 
diversity like this can be conveniently  ignored through the explanation 
of "species flocks" (as in chichlids).

Dan

On 9/30/2010 6:06 PM, David Marjanovic wrote:
> > And don’t get me started with what is going on about all the stuff
>>  being tossed into Mamenchisaurus and Omeisaurus.
>
> Oh yeah. I'd love to see a phylogenetic analyses of the 10 or so 
> "species" that have ended up, seemingly at random, in these two "genera".
>
>>  There are a few properly handled dinosaur genera that include a
>>  normal, large number of species such as Psittacosaurus, Apatosaurus
>>  (some species not yet named), Diplodocus (ditto). But dinopaleo has
>>  gotten into the bad habit of usually making almost every species
>>  into its own genus. This is illogical considering that many modern
>>  bird and mammals contain large numbers of species – Varanus (now
>>  formally includes Megalania), Panthera, Felis, Canis, Vulpes,
>>  Cervus, Tragelaphus, Cephalophus, Ovis, Gazella, Macropus,
>>  Balaenoptera, Buteo, Falco, Anas.
>
(Continue reading)

Dan Chure | 1 Oct 03:13 2010

Re: Princeton Field Guide

  Let's try this again.  Relative to Anolis and its 300 species .....

Well there are 200+ species of the freshwater antiarch placoderm 
Bothriolepis.   Granted they are not all contemporaneous, but still that 
is alot of species for one genus of fish.  I'm not a placodem guy 
(although I think they are quite cool animals) but from what I've read 
of the antiarch literature there seems to be little interest in revising 
the genus and most species seem to be considered valid.  I suppose fish 
diversity like this can be conveniently  ignored through the explanation 
of "species flocks" (as in chichlids).

Dan

On 9/30/2010 6:06 PM, David Marjanovic wrote:
> > And don’t get me started with what is going on about all the stuff
>>  being tossed into Mamenchisaurus and Omeisaurus.
>
> Oh yeah. I'd love to see a phylogenetic analyses of the 10 or so 
> "species" that have ended up, seemingly at random, in these two "genera".
>
>>  There are a few properly handled dinosaur genera that include a
>>  normal, large number of species such as Psittacosaurus, Apatosaurus
>>  (some species not yet named), Diplodocus (ditto). But dinopaleo has
>>  gotten into the bad habit of usually making almost every species
>>  into its own genus. This is illogical considering that many modern
>>  bird and mammals contain large numbers of species – Varanus (now
>>  formally includes Megalania), Panthera, Felis, Canis, Vulpes,
>>  Cervus, Tragelaphus, Cephalophus, Ovis, Gazella, Macropus,
>>  Balaenoptera, Buteo, Falco, Anas.
>
(Continue reading)

Mike Taylor | 1 Oct 12:59 2010

Re: Princeton Field Guide

On 1 October 2010 01:27, Anthony Docimo <keenir <at> hotmail.com> wrote:
>> >> > The book is a POPULAR work entirely in the style of a field guide for birds
>> >> > or mammals. So it does not include specimen numbers, diagnoses or the like
>> >> > and I don’t want to hear about it.
>> >>
>> >> Then how can it possibly be an appropriate venue to do wholesale
>> >> taxonomic reassignments?
>> >
>> > he said "popular" and "in the style of a field guide".
>> >
>> > if I'm reading _Amphibians of North Carolina_, it isn't to see which supragenus the lungless
salamanders are in this week.
>>
>> Unless I'm misunderstanding you, that is pretty much the point I was making.
>
> Oh.
>
> here's what I thought you had said:  that it can't be an appropriate way to do wholesale taxonomic
reassignments _because_ it lacks numbers, diagnoses, etc.
>
> ...so I pointed out the sentance which preceeded it.  (sometimes we skip a line or sentance - its part of
being human)
>
> ((want to be sure we're on the same page))

Oh, dear.  We are making heavy weather of this between us, aren't we?
I am pretty sure we're NOT on the same page.  Let me try once more.
Greg wrote a book "in the style of field-guide", which "does not
include specimen numbers, diagnoses or the like".  That's fine -- it's
an legitimate and popular kind of book.
(Continue reading)

Paul H. | 1 Oct 13:33 2010
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Online Vertebrate Paleontology Theses and Disserations

Theses and dissertations of Texas Tech Department of
Geology are online and downloadable as PDF files. They
can be found on the Texas Tech University Electronic 
Theses and Dissertation web page at:

http://wallace.tosm.ttu.edu/ETD-db/ETD-browse/browse?first_letter=G;browse_by=department

They include:

1. Bone histology of the sauropod dinosaur Alamosaurus 
sanjuanensis from the Javelina Formation, Big Bend 
National Park, Texas by H. N. Woodward
http://etd.lib.ttu.edu/theses/available/etd-05022005-160946/

2. Cranial anatomy of Shunosaurus and Camarasaurus 
(Dinosauria: Sauropoda) and the phylogeny of the 
Sauropoda by Z. Zhong
http://etd.lib.ttu.edu/theses/available/etd-01072009-31295009870170/

3. Anatomy and kinesis of the Allosaurus skull by
B. K. McClelland
http://etd.lib.ttu.edu/theses/available/etd-11042009-31295005871131/

4. Sedimentology and taphonomy of a juvenile 
Alamosaurus site in the Javelina Formation (Upper 
Cretaceous), Big Bend National Park, Texas by
A. B. Coulson
http://etd.lib.ttu.edu/theses/available/etd-01072009-31295013322457/

5. Mineralogy and microstructure of dinosaur eggshells
(Continue reading)

Jaime Headden | 1 Oct 14:08 2010
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RE: Princeton Field Guide


Mike Taylor wrote:

<HOWEVER, this book ALSO include wholesale taxonomic reassignments.>

However,

<it does not include specimen numbers, diagnoses or the like>

One would easily argue that, because it lacks any formal taxonomic practice (I am guessing, my copy is in the
mail) the book does _not_ "include wholesale taxonomic assignments." For versions of that particular
practice, _Predatory Dinosaurs of the World_ and, say, Greg's papers erecting "genera" and "species"
counts far better on this.

What we have instead is NOT a work making ANY sort of taxonomic reassignments, merely confusing taxonomic
terminology with reasoning behind them. Lumping, as I implied here
(http://qilong.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/what-is-citipati-gracilis/), "is [...] a matter of
changing labels around, and applying a Linnaean
 philosophy to the labels. And it is utterly meaningless."

Mike Taylor further wrote:

"A name is just a label.  And the one thing -- the only thing, really -- that you want from a name is that it
doesn't change. The same name should always refer to the same thing, otherwise it's useless.  And guess
what? Linnean binomials fail this basic test for the usefulness of names."

Which is why it makes me very curious why some researchers feel it is necessary to re-name taxa or establish
meaningless labels on the basis of sometimes inconsistent criteria (too similar, not similar enough,
it's bigger, etc.) and little, if any, phylogenetic analysis.

(Continue reading)

Jaime Headden | 1 Oct 14:19 2010
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RE: Princeton Field Guide


My partial reply to Mike Taylor, partly quoting the below and falsely attributed to Mike (my apologies, I
read my email backwards, recent to older, and it gets a bit cobbled when the mail is a day old due to my work
schedule), should cover much of what I would say, and when this book arrives in my hands, I will certainly
have more to say, but for now, because this book invokes the inevitable, ineffable, and unkillable
argument, I will ask nonetheless:

  Greg, Mike, anyone:

  What is a genus?

Cheers,

Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)
http://qilong.wordpress.com/

"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 Backs)

----------------------------------------
> Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2010 16:13:58 -0400
> From: GSP1954 <at> aol.com
> To: dinosaur <at> usc.edu; vrtpaleo <at> usc.edu
> Subject: Princeton Field Guide
>
(Continue reading)

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. | 1 Oct 14:40 2010
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Princeton Field Guide: a different take

Greetings,

My copy arrived yesterday, and thankfully was not ruined by the horrendous rainfall we had.

I know that the DML is always WAY concerned about taxonomy, but there is a lot more to this book than that.

As in: dozens of hitherto unpublished Greg Paul skeletal restorations!! Some of speices which have not-to
my knowledge-had actual
skeletal restorations before.

At some point in my mythical copious free time I need to spend a few hours with a flat bed scanner: next year's
GEOL 104 students
will be seeing a lot new taxa showing up on PowerPoints and tests...

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz <at> umd.edu	Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216			
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/
Fax: 301-314-9661		

Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc
Fax: 301-314-9843

Mailing Address:	Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
			Department of Geology
			Building 237, Room 1117
			University of Maryland
(Continue reading)


Gmane