Archaeoraptor Stephen Czerkas & Sylvia Czerkas vide Olson, 2000 "ancient raider or Archaeopteryx/Velociraptor"
A MESSY SITUATION:
This name has an ugly, if brief, history behind it. Here is an attempt to sum it up.
The name "Archaeoraptor liaoningensis" was originally published in a National Geographic article in 1999. Pictures of the type specimen, supposedly a link between Aves and more primitive, deinonychosaur-like animals, were also published, but there was no formal diagnosis. Furthermore, the article disclaimed itself as a formal description and announced that the animal would be properly described later. Thus, at that point in time, according to ICZN rules, the name "Archaeoraptor" was a nomen nudum, completely unofficial.
Shortly after publication, it became clear that the hindpart (tail, hindlimbs) of "Archaeoraptor" was from a different animal than the rest of it. This was discovered because the more complete counterslab to the hindpart had been found, and indicated that that part belonged to a basal paravian, possibly a deinonychosaur. The forepart was determined to be avian. At that point I decided to use the unofficial name "Archaeoraptor" for the avian forepart, which was the major part of the supposed specimen.
The hindpart and its counterslab were described in 2000 as Microraptor zhaoianus . But, unbeknownst to the authors, Storrs Olson, a paleornithologist, had already formally designated the hindpart as the type specimen of Archaeoraptor liaoningensis, publishing a minimal description in an obscure journal. (The intent was to remove the infamous name of Archaeoraptor from the field of paleornithology.) Thus, as of this writing, the name Microraptor should be considered a junior objective synonym of Archaeoraptor by ICZN rules. The avian section should be considered Aves innom.
Many consider Olson's publication unwarranted and irresponsible. There will be a petition to the ICZN to formally reject the name Archaeoraptor and conserve the name Microraptor. In the hope that it succeeds, I am using the name Microraptor for the basal paravian, despite ICZN rules.
The avian section has yet to be formally described and named.
T. Mike Keesey
|Type species:||Archaeoraptor liaoningensis
Stephen Czerkas |
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