Talk:Dinosaur classification

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Title[edit]

I think the article title is somewhat inappropriate, as it seems to refer to how the classification changed over time. Dinosaur classification would be better. Phlebas 03:02, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Dinosaur classification would be a better title. It would also open the door to more general discussions about how thoroughly the dinosaurian radiation has been mapped, historical schemes, sticky issues, and so forth (a great example is Mammal classification, which is well referenced and provides suitable context). However, I don't think changing all the links that point here to [[List of dinosaur classifications|Dinosaur classification]] in the meantime is useful. -Pat | 68.81.231.127 19:26, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Very good idea, I'm moving this page plus its talk page to Dinosaur classification.Dinoguy2 19:39, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

More Schemes[edit]

While the information contained on this page is interesting, I think two things need to be added: The standardized dinosaur classification being implemented throughout Wikipedia, and a phylogenetic tree that uses cladistics. I'm going to start working on the first since it should be pretty similar to what's already here. A discussion of ranked taxonomy vs. cladistics and how they apply to wikipedia would also be very useful. Dinoguy2 22:16, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Proposed Changes[edit]

I have a list of proposed changes which I would like to make to our classification scheme. I am not sure if I should just change it myself, but I'd thought I'd run it by some people first. If nobody responds, I'll just do the ones with high priority, cause in many ways, Benton's taxonomy is... well, let's say unique.

  1. Removal of Spinosauroidea from Carnosauria... nobody besides Benton includes it there. Everybody else would remove it and make it a sister taxon to Avethropoda, which is a group containing Carnosauria (which is more often used instead of Allosauroidea) and Coelurosauria. Priority: High
  2. Within Carnosauria (or Allosauroidea), we should add Carcharodontosauridae and Sinraptoridae. Priority: High
  3. List Tyrannosauridae within Tyrannosauroidea and Ornithomimidae within Ornithomimosauria.Priority: High
  4. We should also remove Alvarezsauridae from Ornithomimosauria, or at least put a question mark in front of the name, as everyone seems to have a different opinion of where they go. I would put them right under Coelurosauria, with a question mark.
  5. Ditch Chuniaoia... nobody uses it at all. The original publishers of the name don't even use it, they actually just left it in the supplementary information of their paper by mistake, after deleting it from the body of the text. All it includes is Protarchaeopteryx anyway... might as well just list Protarchaeopteryx instead.
  6. Microraptoria should be a subfamily of Dromaeosauridae, not a separate family. Priority: High
  7. Replace Titanosauridae with Titanosauria... this is recommended by leading sauropod workers like Upchurch and Wilson, but it might not matter for our purposes here. This is something that could just be mentioned on the Titanosauridae page instead. Priority: Low
  8. Ditch Pisanosauridae and Fabrosauridae. There is really only one member of each of these families. I think we should just list Pisanosaurus and Lesothosaurus instead.
  9. Heterodontosauridae should be moved out of Marginocephalia. While it is a very appealing idea to me, there is a huge amount of disagreement on the topic. Some workers put it in Marginocephalia, others in Ornithopoda, others outside of both. I think we should put it outside of both, but inside of Cerapoda, until more is known for sure (which may not ever happen). Or at least put a question mark in front of it, to indicate that there is some uncertainty. Priority: High
  10. Hypsilophodontidae should be detonated as it is massively paraphyletic, unless you basically restrict it to just Hypsilophodon. But all the other 'hyspilophodonts' are just on a long line leading up to Iguanodontia.

I guess one of my major questions here is, does every genus need to be put into a family? Cause a lot of them can't be, unless you A) make a special family for each genus or B) allow paraphyletic families.

Thoughts? Sheep81 01:35, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Ok, here goes...
  • Removal of Spinosauroidea from Carnosauria...
    • I wasn't aware it was in carnosauria, that might even be a misprint on my part. Change it.
  • Within Carnosauria (or Allosauroidea), we should add Carcharodontosauridae and Sinraptoridae.
    • Agreed, this is the setup on the individual taxon pages.
  • List Tyrannosauridae within Tyrannosauroidea and Ornithomimidae within Ornithomimosauria.
    • Maybe, though Tyrannosauridae and Tyrannosaouroidea are the same page. For ornithomimes, yes.
  • We should also remove Alvarezsauridae from Ornithomimosauria, or at least put a question mark in front of the name, as everyone seems to have a different opinion of where they go.
    • Agreed, put them under Coelurosauria, but maybe *after* T. and O.idae since they always come out at maniraptoriformes (also supported by their seemingly pennaceous feathers).
  • Ditch Chuniaoia... nobody uses it at all. The original publishers of the name don't even use it, they actually just left it in the supplementary information of their paper by mistake, after deleting it from the body of the text. All it includes is Protarchaeopteryx anyway... might as well just list Protarchaeopteryx instead.
    • My only problem with ditching it is that Protarchie and Incisivosaurus come out as a family on occasion, and Chuniaoia is the only published name for that group.
  • Microraptoria should be a subfamily of Dromaeosauridae, not a separate family.
    • Agreed, also already reflected on taxon pages. In fact I'm not sure we should get down to sub-family level on this page, so maybe just delete it.
  • Replace Titanosauridae with Titanosauria... this is recommended by leading sauropod workers like Upchurch and Wilson, but it might not matter for our purposes here.
    • Yup, Titanosauridae is an invalid taxon and already re-directs to Titanosaur, which covers Titanosauria.
  • Ditch Pisanosauridae and Fabrosauridae. There is really only one member of each of these families. I think we should just list Pisanosaurus and Lesothosaurus instead.
    • Fair enough. I'm not a big fan of monotypic families, but I'm not sure listing individual genera here is a great idea, maybe just delete since they're already mentioned on the higher-level taxa pages.
  • Heterodontosauridae should be moved out of Marginocephalia. While it is a very appealing idea to me, there is a huge amount of disagreement on the topic.
    • I wasn't aware there was that much disagreement (pachys used to be in ornithopoda too, not for cladistic reasons obviously...). I'd go for a question mark.
  • Hypsilophodontidae should be detonated as it is massively paraphyletic
    • I'm not up on my ornithischians, but this page [1] seems to suggest that some authors consider(ed?) hypsilophodontia monophyletic (though they are early 90s....). At any rate this might be one case where I'd suggest leaving a clade as-is and marking it (paraphyletic) for the sake of clutter, like Coeluridae (which should be marked paraphyletic on this page too, btw). The taxonomy on Ornithopoda would be eight pages long if we eliminated all the paraphyly there.
  • I guess one of my major questions here is, does every genus need to be put into a family? Cause a lot of them can't be, unless you A) make a special family for each genus or B) allow paraphyletic families.
    • My opinion on this is that yes, in most cases every genus does not need a family (there are already many that only list superfamily or even some norank taxa, esp in the big superfamilies like tyrannosaurs and ornithomimes). However in cases where you have a long gradient of single-genera clades leading up to the major families, in which all members are very similar at least superficially (early coelurosaurs, hypsilophodonts, maybe prosauropods) I do think it's more convinient to lump them into a paraphyletic family just for the sake of accessibility. A layman reading up on Proceratosaurus might find a ready link to Ornitholestes and Tanycolagreus useful, and probably won't know or care about paraphyly, while somebody in the know will see the note on paraphyly and know what's up.Dinoguy2 17:13, 14 February 2006 (UTC)


Looks really top-notch now, nice job. I agree about the (paraphyly) tag, that is an excellent compromise.

re: Chuniaoia... leave it then, and when somebody gets around to writing a page for it, we can be more specific.

As far as heterodontosaurs being marginocephalians or not, you can see Norman et al. in The Dinosauria II, they discuss it in the basal ornithopod chapter. Basically, their position is unresolved. Most of the time heteros actually came up as basal ornithopods, below the 'hypsies', which would then become euornithopods. But some of the different techniques you can use produced heteros as basal marginocephalians and the authors conclude that more study is needed. There has been a lot of work recently on the hyspie-grade ornithopods, but very little on the heteros. I think a lot of people are content to just put them in an unresolved trichotomy with marginocephalians and ornithopods until we know more. In college I wrote a paper on the subject, so it is near and dear to my heart. :) Anyway I think they are fine where they are now. Sheep81 01:09, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

self reference[edit]

The first sentence contains a self-reference. Is this page meant to be in the WP namespace or is there some reason why this classification scheme is notable other than being used on wikipedia? Thanks Matt 23:36, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

This is kind of a good point... maybe it should be in the WP namespace as the compromise classification used on Wikipedia. Then the actual dinosaur classification article should maybe talk more about different schemes proposed in the literature, which aside from individual genera, seem to be a lot more uniform today than they were even 5 years ago. Sheep81 02:43, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm not opposed to discussing the other published classifications, though I think the one we use here should be on this page, just to help people make better sense of the taxoboxes. Having the taxoboxes use a classification scheme that is not listed in the article Dinosaur classification could be confusing.Dinoguy2 03:34, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

It's a good idea to avoid self-references, and I don't think it's needed here. The article should provide a comprehensive overview of the major schema (Benton and Weishampel are a great start), discuss the areas of uncertainty, and cover all the major points of contention. If that doesn't explain the taxoboxes, either the article needs to be expanded to include the missing information, or the taxoboxes need to be changed because they're not using widely accepted, easily justified standard. -Pat | 68.84.34.154 05:48, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Wish there was a widely accepted, easily justified standard. I am currently working on this article to make it more or less completely non-self-referential, but it will take a while as there is a lot to do. Don't stop making any necessary changes though! Sheep81 10:10, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
So do I. At least cladistics is settling out a little. -Pat | 68.84.34.154 16:12, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

WP:FLC[edit]

It strikes me that this article meets the criteria to be a Wikipedia:Featured list. Have the authors considered nominating it at WP:FLC? List of dinosaurs was nominated there recently. -- ALoan (Talk) 10:19, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

You might want to suggest the same thing at Mammal classification (which I recently nominated at WP:GA -- FL might be more appropriate). Aranae did such a good job I used it as a model for this article when I added Benton's classification way back when. -Pat | 68.84.34.154 16:22, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Phantom families[edit]

Many classifications under the Weishampel/Dodson/Osmolska sauropodomorph section are not in The Dinosauria II, such as Vulcanodontidae, Euhelopodidae, Mamenchisauridae, Flagellicaudata, Blikanasauridae, Andesauridae, Massospondylidae, Yunnanosauridae, and Thecodontosauridae (and Cetiosauridae is a redirect to Ceiosaurus, although I'm not sure that the family deserves a page). Were at least some of these included as a holdover from The Dinosauria I? J. Spencer 17:27, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Misspelling[edit]

All that work and I find out it was spelled wrong on here. Mamenchisauridae=Euhelopodidae. The subfamily is called Mamenchisaurinae, an "n" instead of a "d". This I found out after research on creating that page and finding out it was worthless. I'm a little mad....i'll go ahead and change it. Oh and my proof is: http://www.kheper.net/evolution/dinosauria/Cetiosauria.htm Silver seren 01:20, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Mamenchisauridae is not a misspelling. It is a disused subfamily name, as is Mamenchisaurinae. Firsfron of Ronchester 01:49, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Wait...so both are wrong? O_o Then why is Mamenchisauridae even on there in the first place?Silver seren 01:56, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Euhelopodidae was the name for a family of Chinese Jurassic sauropods until it became apparent that Euhelopus was related to the titanosaurians. Mamenchisaurinae was a subfamily for Mamenchisaurus back when it was thought to be a diplodocid. Mamenchisauridae is the name for a potential family of Chinese Jurassic sauropods (essentially Euhelopodidae without Euhelopus). However, there is little evidence that supports this family, and this state will probably continue until some unlucky grad student in Beijing sits down with the multitude of mamenchisaur and omeisaur species and figures out what is really going on. J. Spencer 03:09, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Merger with Evolution[edit]

I think that the two should remain seperate as, how the dinosaurs evolved from other archosaurs (naturally) is different from their classification (artificial).Rynosaur (talk) 08:15, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

The content of both articles is based on the same set of knowledge: since humans were not present to observe dinosaur evolution directly, this knowledge must be inferred, and it is this inference which leads to their classification. In smaller articles, phylogeny and taxonomy are listed together. Robin S (talk) 19:51, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Maybe a good model would be the equivalent bird articles: Origin of birds and Bird evolution. It's difficult combining evolution and classification articles, I think. There's a long and interesting history of different classifications that needs to be taken into account. Classification is a reference tool we use to categorize animals, often (especially historically) somewhat separate from their actual genealogy. Dinoguy2 (talk) 01:00, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I take your point, though a significant difference here is that evolution of dinosaurs has been a stub for the half-year since its creation, only giving a brief overview of dinosaurs' closest relatives and the earliest dinosaurs, and I cannot see this being expanded on short of a major set of palaeontological discoveries. By contrast, origin of birds goes into great detail on the different stages of evolution in the lineage that led from dinosaurs to birds, with many specific comparisons being made, and a large section on theories regarding the origins of bird flight. Robin S (talk) 10:15, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

I think the two articles can do different things in a more complete state; a better comparison may be Evolution of mammals and Classification of mammals. The main difference is someone has worked on the mammal articles, while in this case, I've done most of the work on the corresponding sections in the main article but have been doing other things as well. Evolution of dinosaurs would look a lot better simply by plopping those sections over the current version (making sure to take the necessary refs as well). J. Spencer (talk) 18:06, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

I've started to expand Evolution of dinosaurs from a stub into a full article. There's still a lot more editing to do and a lot more to add, but when it's finished it will in no way resemble Dinosaur classification. The two will be complementary and barely overlap at all. Mollwollfumble (talk) 07:54, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Changes to cited sources[edit]

That is, just don't do it. This isn't a place for us to synthesize a number of different taxonomies into one, it's a scheme put forward by one author who we have cited. It doesn't have to match what's in the articles, as classifications may change from one paper to the next--we can cite that as we go.

Also, regarding Oviraptoriformes. I've seen a note repeatedly get attached here asking for a "proper" name for this clade. Oviraptoriformes is the proper name. Sereno 2005, and I believe it's been used in one or two other sources since then for the ovi+theri group. Dinoguy2 (talk) 01:52, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Weishampel/Dodson/Osmólska classification[edit]

Am I misreading this section or is the definition used the exact opposite of what the symbols show? The definition given is The greater-than symbol (">") indicates the given taxa is a stem-based taxon, comprising all organisms sharing a common ancestor that is not also an ancestor of the "greater" taxon. However the listed classification shows Herrerasauria (Herrerasaurus > Liliensternus, Plateosaurus) . Reading this in terms of the given definition means that Herrerasauria would include all the ancestors of Liliensternus and Plateosaurus that are not also ancestors of Herrerasaurus. How can Herrerasauria not include Herrerasaurus? This could be corrected by changing the definition to all organisms sharing a common ancestor that is not also an ancestor of the "lesser" taxon. Khajidha (talk) 21:04, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Okay, changed. Thank you! J. Spencer (talk) 22:06, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Chilesaurus[edit]

Does this genus fit into the classification? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilesaurus Jcardazzi (talk) 17:53, 27 April 2015 (UTC)jcardazzi

It appears to make a lot more sense in the Baron/Norman/Barrett reclassification: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/08/scientists-struggle-fit-strange-vegetarian-dinosaur-family-tree

described here: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/t-rex-gets-new-home-shakeup-dino-family-tree (if you can't access these web pages try searching for Baron, Norman and Barrett 2017). Orbitalforam (talk) 11:20, 25 October 2017 (UTC)

Spindle Diagram[edit]

Non-expert here: The spindle diagram shown in this article doesn't say what the width of the spindles indicates. I guess it's probably number of families, but maybe that's worth specifying? 2600:1700:A410:2D90:9002:B3E0:97BA:44BB (talk) 11:54, 7 May 2018 (UTC)