Synonym and Institutional Abbreviation List Up For Editing

In the wake of the post the other day on upcoming tasks for the ODP, Christian Foth and Rob Taylor have submitted first passes on the list of taxonomic synonyms and institutional abbreviations (click on the links to access files for taxonomic synonyms and institutional abbreviations). To simplify things, these files should be edited directly online if at all possible. I have authorized read/write access for all users. NOTE: At present, a Google account is required to access this file. If you do not have a Google Account and do not desire one, you may email Andy ( for the file.

I would recommend that you initial any changes, corrections, or additions, just so we can keep track of the relevant contributors. Feel free to discuss concerns or differing opinions in the comment threads.

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24 Responses to Synonym and Institutional Abbreviation List Up For Editing

  1. William Miller says:

    In my looking into the abbreviations, I encountered “QM” for both the Queensland Museum and the Queen Victoria Museum (in Zimbabwe). The list here has “QVM” for the latter, which I’ve also seen … so there seems to be some ambiguity (especially since there is also a Queen Victoria Museum in Australia). Since Muttaburrasaurus is an Australian species, I *assume* the Queensland Museum is intended … but it would be nice to be sure. Does the original paper make it clear?

  2. Rob Taylor says:

    Bartholomai & Molnar 1981 does clearly indentify the type specimen as “Queensland Museum F6140” (p. 320) and uses “QM F6140” in the figure captions (p. 321 and beyond). (In fact, the original paper appeared in the Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, so that in itself is a help.)

    As of 24 November, the abbreviation QVM actually did not occur within our data, but possibly it should – in conjunction with specimen QG/1, Syntarsus rhodesiensis (Raath 1969). I intentionally entered QVM in the abbreviations list to distinguish from QM, though you raise a valid point in that QVM itself can be ambiguous. One thing I did ponder is whether the city for QVM should be Salisbury, Rhodesia, as I believe it was named when Syntarus rhodesiensis was published, or rather Harare, Zimbabwe, as it exists today. (Um. I think. I’m a product of U.S. school systems, so it’s almost a requisite that I be geographically challenged.) Anyway, I went with the former, but am certainly open to changing it. I think overall my trend was to provide current rather than retrospective information, so it may actually make sense to do so. Thoughts?

  3. 220mya says:

    I think it might be worth adding a reference column for the synonyms file – that way we can trace who synonymized the taxon in question.

  4. William Miller says:

    OK, thanks. I figured it was correct, I just wanted to be sure.

    I encountered both names (Harare and Salisbury) – but I did not know they referred to the same city, so that’s why I just said “Zimbabwe” in my earlier comment. If Harare is the current name we should probably go with that — on the other hand, that might be confusing to someone looking up the original paper. (Perhaps “Harare (formerly Salisbury), Zimbabwe”?)

    I think I have a lead on the mysterious CGTM, but I won’t have time to check it until this evening.

  5. Mike Taylor says:

    More information is always better than less: “Harare (formerly Salisbury), Zimbabwe” has to be the best choice here.

  6. William Miller says:

    OK, I put that into the google docs file.

  7. William Miller says:

    In the taxonomic synonyms: AFAIK Camptosaurus is masculine, so Camptosaurus medium should be medius

  8. Andy Farke says:

    Re: gender agreements, we’ll want to go by what the original authors published. As I recall, it is Camptosaurus medius – likely a “correction” introduced by auto-correct!

  9. Andy Farke says:

    I would recommend we go with the current name/designation, regardless of the abbreviation. We have other examples – USNM (United States National Museum) is a legacy holdover abbreviation for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

  10. Rob Taylor says:

    Following Mike’s sound logic (but extending William’s suggestion one step further), does “Harare, Zimbabwe (formerly Salisbury, Rhodesia)” hold any appeal?

  11. William Miller says:

    Actually no: infuriatingly (a stronger word is probably deserved), I found a book that *uses* the abbreviation (Threatened Birds of the Americas, 3rd edition) but *does not define it*. Aargghh!

  12. Works for me. It costs us one (1) extra word, I think we can afford it without going over PLoS’s length limit🙂

  13. Rob Taylor says:

    Indeed! Those would be the “tantalizing Web hits” I referred to in my original post. That said, I didn’t get the sense that the entire book was available online, so maybe there’s still hope if we could track down the complete work. (Or possibly you did already?)

    In any event, obscure though this one may be, I’m not ready to give up on it yet!

  14. William Miller says:

    Rob Taylor :
    maybe there’s still hope if we could track down the complete work. (Or possibly you did already?)

    I did find the book in the library, and CGTM is simply missing from the list of abbreviations (apparently by oversight).

  15. Andy Farke says:

    I like it!

  16. Rob Taylor says:

    A possible lead on the elusive CGTM. Delving a little more deeply, I learned that the specimen in question was found on the Crimean peninsula, so thinking that the ‘C’ was likely ‘Crimea’ or ‘Crimean’, the ‘G’ possibly ‘Geology’ or ‘Geological,’ and the ‘M’ probably ‘Museum,’ I started plugging combinations into Google. One intriguing hit was a photo gallery showing some rock specimens from the “Geological Museum of Crimean Branch of UkrSGPI (Simferopol),” though that doesn’t account for the ‘T.’ Anyway, this is all purely speculative, but I can’t help but feel that I may be onto something.

    One interesting tidbit I did learn is that Orthomerus weberi was formerly emended to Orthomerus weberae by Nessov in 1995’s Dinosaurs of Eurasia, p. 111. (According to a note on a DinoData page, the species honoree, G. F. Weber, was female.) As I think this material now generally shows up as Hadrosauridae indet., I’m unsure whether that would be fodder for the synonym list.

  17. Rob Taylor says:

    Ahem… make that “formally,” not “formerly.”

  18. Richard says:

    Just happened to be glancing through these comments, and I can help out here. Brinkmann (1988, review of ornithopods of Europe) lists the abbreviation as ZGTM (not CGTM), Zentralen Geologischen Tschernyshew Museum, Leningrad, USSR. It may be called something else now….

  19. Rob Taylor says:

    Most excellent, thank you!

    Coincidentally, I just came upon the ZGTM abbreviation in Graeme Worth’s PDF Dinosaur Encyclopaedia. (Of the scads of dino-related educational products out there, Graeme’s is notable for being replete with specimen numbers, plus tons of useful references.) No definition for the abbreviation was provided, however, so you’ve just saved me an email!

  20. William Miller says:

    OK, good. So CGTM was a typo then?

  21. Rob Taylor says:

    Thinking it more likely that ZGTM is an abbreviation constructed from a German translation of the museum name, possibly as it would appear in English. (Zentralen Geologischen = Central Geology). Of course, not having the original work (and the original work almost assuredly being in Russian), I’m not sure how the specimen number may have appeared there.

    Anyway, still some more checking I’d like to do, but right now – based on the information we have at hand – I might go with: “Central Geology Tschernyshew Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia”

  22. Mike Taylor says:

    I guess the thing for a conscientious contributor to do is try to track that museum down on the web, and email a member of staff to ask for clarification.

  23. Rob Taylor says:

    Indeed. Thankfully I have a wife who was a Russian Area Studies major in college and can assist with said research and communications. (Though it will come at some cost. It’s always at a cost…)

  24. Robert M. Sullivan says:


    Please add “SMP = The State Museum of Pennsylvania” to your institutional list,


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