Capsule summary: Jeff Martz's case

Tue Feb 12 15:19:11 GMT 2008


Hunt and Lucas (1991) named a new aetosaur Redondasuchus on the basis of its unusual osteoderms. (It is now recognised that they interpreted these incorrectly, orienting them back-to-front and inside-out.) The original, incorrect interpretation was reaffirmed by Heckert et al. (1996:623) and Heckert and Lucas (2000:1563).

Martz's (2002a) unpublished thesis corrected this interpretation, and showed that with this oddity of the osteoderms resolved, Redondasuchus was synonymous with Typothorax (pp. 34-36). Martz sent copies of this thesis to many members of NMMNHS staff, including Lucas, Hunt and Heckert. Martz's conclusion was also included in his (2002b) published SVP abstract, and was presented at his 2002 Romer Prize talk at SVP, where it was heard by Heckert.

Spielmann et al. (2006:583), in the NMMNHS Bulletin, published Martz's reinterpretation of the Redondasuchus osteoderm without attribution, as their own discovery. Spielmann et al's figure 1 (bottom right section) shows that their interpretation is identical to that of Martz's figure 3.1c. Their paper cited Martz (2002) extensively (fourteen citations) and included a discussion of other parts of his figure 3.1 (Spielmann et al. 2006: 586), clearly demonstrating their awareness of Martz's work, which makes their failure to acknowledge his reinterpretation in that very same figure all the more inexplicable.

On May 16 2007 (approx.), Martz wrote to Spielmann requesting an explanation for the unattributed use of his reinterpretation. No reply was received.