DATABASE: Dinosaur Name Game

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Science  28 Oct 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5748, pp. 597
DOI: 10.1126/science.310.5748.597e

Like the ancient beasts themselves, most of the names scientists have coined for dinosaurs over the last 2 centuries are defunct. At the new database TaxonSearch from paleontologist Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago, researchers can uncover which handles have survived and which have gone extinct as experts have refined taxonomies. Unlike other narrower references, the site focuses on taxonomic levels above the genus, and it will cover all archosaurs—the group that comprises dinosaurs and their kin—except for birds and crocodiles. Dig into the listings to find out who first named a group, its official definition, and its chronological range. For example, the name of the clade Ankylosauridae, to which the herbivore Ankylosaurus belongs, dates back to 1908. And if a name has died out, you can learn why. Sereno has posted the first batch of 50 records and plans to add about 700 more within the next few weeks.

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