Geological Magazine (Decade III)

Original Articles

IV.—On the Literature and Nomenclature of British Fossil Crocodilia

Arthur Smith Woodwarda1

a1 of the British Museum (Natural History).

Of all groups of fossil reptiles, there is perhaps none in greater need of critical revision than that comprising the Crocodilia. The remains of this order already discovered are so numerous, and the various descriptive accounts of them so scattered and disconnected,—so commonly has it been the custom to take advantage of each successive “find” for the manufacture of a new generic or specific name, however fragmentary the materials, and so frequently have species been imperfectly compared and characterized,—that a most intricate and perplexing synonymy has arisen, which it would require long-continued research by the profoundest of specialists to unravel. Moreover, cases are not unknown, in which type specimens have subsequently proved to be unfortunate restorations, and the occasional disregard of priority in nomenclature has also contributed to increase the confusion.