Ironically, it is in some ways easier to work with extinct genera and higher-level taxa than with extinct species. (walking dinosaur costume)This is because both living and fossil higher-level taxa are identified on the basis of morphological differences. The problems in identifyrng fossil species are obvious. We cannot observe their breeding patterns, and we cannot look at their soft display structures.
And even if soft tissues were available, they are more useful for sorting out living genera, than for species indentification. (Animatronic dinosaur)There is no full solution to these problems. In fact, extinct species, based on morphological differences and not breeding damamics, cannot be considered true species. But uniformitarianism demands we do the best we can.
It is helpful, if not essential, to look at modern taxa because we can apply to fossils the values of skeletal variation usually found within a number of well-established species, genera, families, and so on. For extinct species attempts must be made to take into account individual, sexual, and geographic variation, but using modern vertebrates as benchmarks gives us a reasonably firm basis on which to measure fossil taxa. What do modern taxa tell us? First, that many genera have a large number of species in them. We have already seen how Panthera is a multispecies genus. CcnIs and Gazellc contain about a dozen species each. Another thing is that morphological variation is very high in many multispecies genera (realistic dinosaur costume). This is seen in Ccnrs species, which range from the big robust Siberian timber wolf to the much smaller, delicate, and longsnouted Simien jackal. Fossil and living species of L/rsus are quite variable.2t Among other genera, Vqranus lizards, Bovis, Gozella, Anas (various ducks), and even Homo show similar degrees of variation. Admittedly, not all living genera have been ananged to show as much variation as these, and this shows that modern biologists are still having their problems with consistenry. But we need to start somewhere. How do predatory dinosaur genera and species compare to modern ones? It is all too obvious that many major dinosaur genera have only one or two species.