News & AnalysisPaleontology

Is It Time to Declutter the Dinosaur Roster?

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Science  13 May 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6031, pp. 782
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6031.782

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With almost 1000 types of dinosaurs on record and a new species being named somewhere in the world every 2 weeks, paleontologist Jack Horner thinks too many supposedly new discoveries are actually duplicates of animals already on the books. Horner wants to set the record straight using a rigorous set of procedures for studying dinosaur fossils that he calls the Unified Frame of Reference (UFR). If implemented worldwide, he says, UFR will eliminate at least 50 dinosaur species in a few years by revealing that those animals were actually other known dinosaurs at different stages of growth. Other researchers who have studied the "alias problem" share his concern.

  • * Laura Margottini is a freelance writer based in Rome.

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