Dinosaur diversity analysed by clade, age, place and year of description

24th May 2006

Michael P. Taylor
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth PO1 3QL, UK

Although fundamental to Mesozoic palaeoecology, dinosaur diversity has received little attention in the literature. The principal contributions have been those of Dodson and his collaborators (Dodson 1990; Dodson and Dawson 1991; Dodson 1994; Holmes and Dodson 1997) and Fastovsky et al. (2004).

This study presents four analyses based on a database incorporating dinosaurian genera considered valid as of 31 March 2003. This database was compiled from the literature, principally from the publications of Glut (1997, 2000, 2002, 2003). Aves (Archaeopteryx + Neornithes) is excluded and nomina nuda and nomina dubia are omitted. The database was analysed in terms of the number of valid genera within each major clade, stratigraphic stage, place of discovery and year of description.

Taphonomy, diagenesis, erosion, collecting, preparation and publication present a series of filters that separate apparent from actual diversity. These results, based on apparent diversity, should therefore be interpreted with caution.

Note. This short paper has no true abstract; the section quoted above is the Introduction.


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