Northeastern Section - 53rd Annual Meeting - 2018

Paper No. 10-22
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


SCHUSTER, Erin B., Geology, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Taxonomy is the method by which organisms are assigned to a genus and species group. It is a science that is constantly evolving in response to our growing knowledge of evolution and of a group of organisms. This is especially true of graptolite taxonomy. Early work with graptolites focused solely on naming graptolites for use in biostratigraphy, such that graptolites were loosely grouped based on their general appearance rather than on biologic concepts of species or phylogeny. As studies into the evolution of graptolite morphology have increased there has been an increasing realization that synonyms, or species that have been given several taxonomic names, exist. Through careful examination of graptolite literature these synonyms are slowly being identified (Mitchell et al., unpublished data). However, the presence of synonyms may not only be due to changes in graptolite research through time. These synonyms may also be related to the authors responsible for the naming of particular species.

This study has determined that the correlation between the number of graptolite synonymies and the year a species is named, the naming author, and both the naming year and author are statistically different from a random distribution. The number of graptolites with a synonym versus the number of senior synonyms are also statistically different from each other when grouped by naming author and year, based on the results of a chi-squared analysis. Further analysis will look at the number of objective and subjective synonyms to determine if these correlations continue to persist. In addition, the numbers of both graptolites with a synonym and senior synonyms will be normalized for the monograph effect and analyzed to determine if there is still a correlation to naming author and year. Finally, data on synonymies of another organism will be drawn from the Paleobiology Database to determine if these correlations are similar for other areas of paleontological taxonomy.

  • Schuster_GSA_Northeast_18.pdf (1.5 MB)