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Blogger Profile

Jeffrey Martz
Poncha Springs CO USA

This is a blog about paleontology (the study of the history of life on Earth through the fossil record) with an emphasis on vertebrate paleontology, the study of extinct vertebrates (animals with backbones). The methodology and findings of paleontology will be discussed, as well as related issues such as evolutionary theory. The blogger is a vertebrate paleontologist specializing in the Triassic Period, the Beginning of the Age of Dinosaurs.

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Views: 8716 | Comments: 7
Last by duasatu on Feb 26, 2013, 11:05am
A genus is a group of very similar species (the plural is genera). The practice of naming genera and species is called alpha taxonomy. When we name a species, we say both the genus and species names together. For Tyrannosaurus rex, “rex” is the actual species. “Tyrannosaurus” is a genus (notice that both words are italicized; genera and species names can also be underlined). This means that you could have a bunch of closely related species which are all grouped under Tyrannosaurus. In fact, there is a form from Mongolia called Tarbosaurus bataar, which lived just a few million years before Tyrannosaurus rex, and which is almost identical to it. Some paleontologists think should be considered a species of Tyrannosaurus: Tyrannosaurus bataar. It is acceptable to give the genus name as just the first letter followed by a period, for example T. rex (but not as T-rex, T-Rex, as it is sometimes given). So, we could say that there are two species of Tyrannosaurus: T. rex and T. bataar.

Unfortunately, we are even vaguer on how to recognize a genus as how to recognize a species. As with the morphological species concept, it is pretty much based on similarity. But how similar? The genus Tyrannosaurus belongs to a group of theropods (meat-eating dinosaurs) called tyrannosaur . . . More
Views: 7630 | Comments: 4
Last by Alchemystress on Feb 26, 2011, 6:57pm
Tom Holtz, a well-known expert on tyrannosaurs, recently posted a blog entitled "What Should Everyone Know About Paleontology?" It is worth checking out.

The next few posts will discuss the subjects of taxonomy and systematics. In biology and paleontology, the word “taxonomy” refers to a system of naming living organisms, and (more importantly for this discussion), figuring out how to classify them (group them together). “Systematics” is a broader subject which includes taxonomy, but also considers the evolutionary relationships and history of organisms.

The word “species” refers to one of the most fundamental groups of living things. Intuitively, it isn’t hard to grasp more or less what a species is: a group of living things that are the exact same “kind” of thing. Apples are one species, oranges are another. Humans are one species, chimpanzees are a different species. However, saying that all humans are the same “kind” of thing is a little vague; what exactly does that mean?

There are several different definitions which have been proposed for species, but I’ll just mention a couple here. The “biological s . . . More
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