Category «Commentary»

The name game: Plesiosaur-ia, -oidea, -idae, or -us?

Proper taxonomic names, with formal suffixes, can be confusing at the best of times. But when they include identical prefixes their meaning can be further complicated. For example, to what taxonomic group does the colloquial term ‘plesiosaur’ refer: Plesiosauria, Plesiosauroidea, Plesiosauridae, or Plesiosaurus? With all these similar sounding names it is not surprising that laypersons and specialists alike may have …

Sea Dragons of Avalon – Palaeontological Association Review Seminar

Well, my flight, hotel and annual leave (!) are booked and I’m looking forward to attending the upcoming Palaeontological Association Review Seminar: Sea Dragons of Avalon, taking place next week (Friday 31st July) in Street, Somerset, UK. Although I posted details on my website months ago (http://www.plesiosauria.com/seadragons_avalon.html) and despite my best intent, I never got …

Recent plesiosaur papers – a round up

So far, 2008 has seen a healthy number of new papers on plesiosaurs and a few new taxa too. Way back in February, Druckenmiller and Russell (2008a) introduced Nichollsia borealis, a plesiosaur of uncertain affinity, based on a beautifully preserved specimen from Alberta, Canada. More recently, Druckenmiller and Russell (2008b) published a large scale cladistic …

Two new plesiosaur species and new data on Brachauchenius

The most recent Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology (Volume 27(1)) contains three new plesiosaur papers. A short communication by Ben Kear (p. 241-246) clarifies the taxonomy of what has become a very confusing taxon – Eromangasaurus. The confusion originated because two separate researchers (Ben Kear and Sven Sachs) published separate descriptions and names for the same specimen, …