Considerations on the replacement of a type species in the case of the sauropod dinosaur Diplodocus Marsh, 1878

  • Emanuel Tschopp American Museum of Natural History
  • Daniel Brinkman Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University
  • Jaime Henderson Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University
  • Mary Ann Turner Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University
  • Octávio Mateus Department of Earth Sciences, NOVA University of Lisbon
Keywords: sauropod, Diplodocus, D. carnegii, D. longus, paleontology, vertebrates

Abstract

The sauropod dinosaur genus Diplodocus Marsh, 1878, is currently typified by a morphologically undi¬agnosable type species, D. longus Marsh, 1878. Only two caudal vertebrae and an associated partial chev¬ron of its holotype (Yale Peabody Museum [YPM] VP.001920) remain reasonably complete, but more, fragmentary caudal vertebrae are available, and provide additional morphological information. YPM VP.001920 can be referred to Diplodocus generally, but cannot be distinguished from other Diplodocus spe¬cies based on autapomorphies. Thus, the genus Diplodocus would have to be considered a nomen dubium. In order to resolve this unsatisfactory taxonomic issue, Tschopp and Mateus (2016) proposed to designate a new type species for the genus Diplodocus: namely, the well-known D. carnegii Hatcher, 1901.
Herein, we expand upon historical and taxonomic issues concerning the holotype of D. longus, in order to: (1) provide additional imagery and information on the specimen and (2) to address comments against the replacement of D. longus by D. carnegii as the type species of Diplodocus as proposed by Tschopp and Mateus (2016).

Caudal vertebral elements of the type specimen of Diplodocus longus (YPM VP.001920). The letters indicate the vertebrae shown on figures 1 to 5. Courtesy of the Division of Vertebrate Paleontology; YPM VP.001920, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA; peabody.yale.edu. Photography by Jamie Henderson.
Published
2018-06-01
How to Cite
Tschopp, E., Brinkman, D., Henderson, J., Turner, M.A., and Mateus, O., 2018, Considerations on the replacement of a type species in the case of the sauropod dinosaur Diplodocus Marsh, 1878: Geology of the Intermountain West, v. 5, p. 245-262.