STL Science Center

STL Science Center

21 August 2013

Othnielosaurus Confused

Othnielosaurus is a very confused dinosaur, as we have seen this week. Most of the confusion associated with Othnielosaurus is due to the fact that the name and assignment of the remains has been changed so many times during the history of our knowledge of this species. The reason is that, as we have seen, different reviewers of the material have had different ideas about the associations of the animal with other animals. Overall, this is how the history of the dinosaur's names goes:
Species recognized in each of the genera to the left are listed with authority.
Laid out like this it is not too confusing really, but it is very easy to see how and why it can get confusing rather quickly. Technically Othnielia still exists, but the fragmentary nature of the single femur that Galton still recognized as belonging to Othnielia relegates the genus, as Galton himself even recognized, to the status of nomen dubium. Therefore, Othnielosaurus is the only genus of those above that is officially recognized as valid at the present time. In the future it is probable that Othnielia will be officially classified as a nomen dubium or be revived by the discovery of new remains.

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