[Taxacom] Sinoniscus Liu and Wang

David Campbell pleuronaia at gmail.com
Fri Sep 28 07:23:29 CDT 2012

> An alternative. In the paleobiology database http://paleodb.org  Sepkoski is stated to have assigned Sinoniscus to Palaeonisciformes. <

That would be based on Sepkoski's massive compilation of every genus
name he could find
(http://archive.org/details/bulletinsofameri362364200203pale), not on
careful taxonomic assessment of this genus in particular.  In the case
of Cerasina, Sepkoski missed the senior homonym (I've notified the
author of the junior homonym), but I haven't systematically checked
out Sepkoski's data set for nomenclatural accuracy.

Paleobiology Database is a very mixed bag.  Data from various
publications and reports are entered, which may or may not be up to
date (e.g., bivalve taxonomy from an 80 year old paper needs work),
and homonym handling seems poorly developed (in the cases I've noted,
homonyms are confused into a single entry).  If someone who knows a
group has worked on the database, it can be quite good; if it's just
some random old publication that had data entered, it can be quite
bad.   The database should be an entry to the literature, not a
substitute for it.   Similar caveats on the distribution (space and
time) records.  Calibrating a molecular clock by simply putting your
taxon into Paleobiology Database and seeing what comes out is not
advisable, for example.

Dr. David Campbell
Visiting Professor
Department of Natural Sciences
Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs NC 28017

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