Welcome to Superoceras, a blog about science and natural history, slightly biased towards paleontology and zoology, but inclusive of all sciences. Started in October of 2009, my goal is to communicate scientific knowledge (and the occasional piece of nonsense) in an informative and entertaining manner. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, concerns, or criticism at superoceras(at)gmail(dot)com, and follow me on Twitter @Superoceras for all that and more in 140 characters or less!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A whale of a name change.

Just a quick update on a post I did a little while ago regarding the giant predatory Miocene whale Leviathan melvillei. Or should I say, the giant predatory Miocene whale formerly known as Leviathan melvillei. As it turns out, the genus name Leviathan was already taken (as a junior subjective synonym for Mammut). The authors of the paper recently published a corrigendum in the journal Nature explaning this, and giving the whale a new genus name, Livyatan. So Leviathan is really Livyatan (like Brontosaurus is really Apatosaurus, and Torosaurus is probably really Triceratops). This type of nomenclature change is not that uncommon in the world of paleontology.

Thanks to Dr. Holtz for informing the vertebrate paleontology mailing list of this update. Those who subscribe to "VRTPALEO" know that there has been a lot of not-so-great things happening on the listserv, and Dr. Holtz's message was a refreshing change of pace back in the right direction.

Lambert, O. et al. 2010. The giant bite of a new raptoral sperm whale from the Miocene epoch of Peru. Nature 466(26): 1134.

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