It became apparent over the course of the Dinosaur Systematics Symposium that significant advances have been made in recent years in the number of species known, in understanding the anatomy and interrelationships of those species, in narrowing the gap between morphological and biological species, and in recognizing the significance of associated geological and paleontological data. In a paper delivered at the Symposium, Peter Dodson (1987) noted that there are 265 genera of dinosaurs recognized, forty percent of which have been described since 1969. For many attending the conference, this was the first time that it became evident that dinosaur research had finally reached a level of activity comparable to the surge at the turn of the century.
Nevertheless, the data base is still small, dinosaurian studies are still in their infancy, and the field is wide open for further development. In comparison with the number of species of vertebrates known to be alive today (in 1969, Mayr estimated that there are 8,600 extant species of birds, 3,700 species of mammals, 6,300 species of reptiles, and 2,500 species of amphibians), the number of dinosaur species known for their 140 million year history is insignificant. Although most dinosaurs were relatively large animals that were probably long-lived, there could have been thousands of species alive at any one time throughout the world, and the discovery of new forms (Chapters 8, 9, 14, 15, 19) is inevitably going to continue.