When a new taxon being described and in press by Lü Junchang and colleagues, there will be 32 uniquely named species. Some of these may be synonyms, some rather assuredly are, of other species; but most of these are broadly considered unique species. Now, it’s no secret that I argue for unique binomial nomenclature for species, as it makes things just so much more elegant and easier to work with when it comes to playing the systematist. So in tallying up oviraptorosaurs, I find an interesting thing. With a potential range of 26 names that may begin with a unique letter, oviraptorosaurs represent
16 17 of those letters, and not even all the most common ones: left out of the oviraptorosaur initial-letter arrangement we have 10 9 letters left over, DFJQTUVXZ.
Edit 1: Added Ganzhousaurus nankangensis, Wulatelong gobiensis and “Leptorhynchos” gaddisi as new taxa. “Leptorhynchos” does not yet qualify as a new name, though gaddisi does, as no type species was designated. Another purported oviraptorosaur is possible, Ninguansaurus yangi — which slipped through the literature cracks for three months, and was published in 2012 by Ji, Lü, Wei & Wang — although the material present features not found in other oviraptorosaurs, such as epipophyses on the cervical vertebrae, elongated caudal vertebrae, an inverted “T“-shaped ischium as in unenlagiine and microraptoran deinonychosaurs, a splint-like proximal MTIII, and extremely large supposed second pedal ungual. Addition of Wulatelong gobiensis results in a reduction to 9 letters left of the alphabet. This brings the total number of named oviraptorosaurian species to 35.
Now, there are several undescribed, and potentially unique, species to be had, especially MPC-D 100/42 (“IGM 100/42“), which if the common attribution of “Zamyn Khond[t] oviraptorine” is any suggestion, might occupy the “Z” slot. There is also the “mitred” oviraptorid (PXO X678), “Big Beak” (PIN uncatalogued and on perpetual tour), and the Hell Creek oviraptorosaur (CM 78000, CM 78001). Caudipteryx may contain as many as two species, though whether these are zoui and dongi, or zoui and another species with a seemingly more plesiomorphic skull and dongi as a synonym of zoui, remains to be seen. These taxa can be evocative, especially if their describers choose to employ figurative, mythological, or descriptive weight to their nomenclature, rather than the convention of “place-name-asaurus” and similar “boring” names. “Ingenia” yanshini is also in need of a replacement name, and with “I” taken relatively comfortingly by Incisivosaurus gauthieri, this may take another slot.
Additionally, it has been suggested by a few authors that Calamospondylus oweni (Fox, 1866) and Thecocoelurus daviesi (Seeley, 1888) might be oviraptorosaurs (see Holtz, 2011 [online] and Naish, Hutt & Martill, 2001, respectively), though these suggestions are qualified on general characteristics common to a broader clade, and for example may permit the latter to be a therizinosauroid as well (Kirkland et al., 2004).
Now, I have no intentions of providing these names, but it is an interesting idea. I am currently now entertaining the notion of providing a small “book-like” object that may be useful for authors and artists to compile oviraptorosaur-specific stuff, in the theme of various stories and discussions of these taxa as might be had as an introduction to the taxa themselves.
Avimimus portentosus Kurzanov, 1981
Banji long Xu & Han, 2010
Caenagnathasia martinsoni Currie, Godfrey & Nessov, 1994
Caenagnathus collinsi = see Chirostenotes pergracilis? Sternberg, 1940
Caenagnathus sternbergi = see Elmisaurus elegans? Cracraft, 1972
Caudipteryx zoui Ji, Norell, Currie & Ji, 1998
Caudipteryx dongi = Caudipteryx zoui? zhou & Wang, 2000
Chirostenotes pergracilis Sternberg, 1924
Citipati osmsolskae Clark, Norell & Barsbold, 2000
Conchoraptor gracilis Barsbold, 1986
Elmisaurus rarus Osmólska, 1981
Elmisaurus elegans (Parks, 1933)
Epichirostenotes curriei Sullivan, Jasinski & van Tomme, 2011
Ganzhousaurus nankangensis Wang, Sun, Sullivan & Xu, 2013
Gigantoraptor erlianensis Xu, Tan, Wang, Zhao & Tan, 2007
Hagryphus giganteus Zanno & Sampson, 2005
Heyuannia huangi Lü, 2002
Incisivosaurus gauthieri Xu, Wang & Chang, 2002
“Ingenia” yanshini Barsbold, 1981
Khaan mckennai Clark, Norell & Barsbold, 2000
“Leptorhynchos gaddisi” Longrich, Barnes, Clarke & Millar, 2013
Luoyanggia liudianensis Lü, Xu, Jiang, Jia, Zhang & Ji, 2009
Machairasaurus leptonychus Longrich, Currie & Dong, 2010
Macrophalangia canadensis Sternberg, 1932
Microvenator celer Ostrom, 1970
Nemegtomaia barsboldi (Lü, Tomida, Azuma, Dong & Lee, 2004)
Nomingia gobiensis Barsbold, Osmólska, Watabe, Currie & Tsogtbaatar, 2000
Ojoraptorsaurus boerei Sullivan, Jasinski & van Tomme, 2011
Oviraptor philoceratops Osborn, 1924
Protarchaeopteryx robusta Ji & Ji, 1997
Rinchenia mongoliensis (Barsbold, 1986)
Shixinggia oblita Lü & Zhang, 2005
Similicaudipteryx yixianensis He, Wang & Zhao, 2008
Wulatelong gobiensis Xu, Tan, Wang, Sullivan, Hone, Han, Ma, Tan & Xiao, 2013
Yulong mini Lü, Currie, Xu, Zhang, Pu & Jia, 2013