STL Science Center

STL Science Center

11 March 2015

More Phylogenies

Carnegie Museum of Natural History ©John St. James
Phylogeny is a fun pseudo-buzzword in science and popular media. To sound more educated discussions of newly found dinosaurs often have words like phylogeny tossed around in the popular outlets. They are put there by educated scientists who know what they're saying, of course, but the word is used like a shiny toy by journalists trying to entice the masses. Thankfully the word is not used enough to have become overused by popular articles, but I have seen it enough to be sure. The phylogeny of Marshosaurus has been a little troubled since it was discovered and described. James Madsen did not place Marshosaurus definitely in any single clade below Theropoda. The material, he thought, did not possess enough distinguishing marks to separate it from any single lineage surely enough that it could be assigned to one more specific. It was not until 2009 that the evidence for a definitive lineage was put forth and described by Roger Benson using characters that had surfaced in revised accounts of the Megalosauria from specimens of all kinds and ages.

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