Students Don't Have a Bone To Pick

JOHN FLECK'S article "Museum Boss Faces Ethics Charge" overlooked a couple of key facts. The holotype specimens in question (Redondasuchus and Rioarribasuchus) were collected by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, and both are the property of that institution.

They were first described in 1991 by Adrian Hunt and Spencer Lucas, and by Kate Ziegler, Andy Heckert and Lucas in 2002, respectively. It seems to me, especially considering that Lucas' investigations and studies of Late Triassic vertebrates are ongoing and revisionary, that these holotypes are proprietary to the Lucas teams.

What right, or claims, do these students have to name these fossils? The ethical thing to do would have been to alert Lucas and his team to their independent conclusions and offer to step aside and let the original researchers reassess their earlier conclusions. That would have been not only respectful, but proper. The students' complaints are whiny and without merit.

Harrisburg, Pa.

Editor's note: Sullivan is senior curator of the Section of Paleontology, State Museum of Pennsylvania, and was a peer reviewer on the paper in question.