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 > But, things like that do matter.  Bakker agrees Apatosaurus is
 > technically correct, but there are thousands of books out there
 (and,
 > maybe a few un-relabelled museum displays) that still use the
 > term "Brontosaurus".  If millions of people (quite literally)
 > know it by the name Brontosaurus, who should change?

How about neither?  The common name can be brontosaurus
(non-capitalized and so on), the scientific name can be
Apatosaurus.

 > there isn't an issue of priority to begin with.

Yes there is.  The name Apatosaurus was published about 2 years
prior to Brontosaurus - that's priority, even if the same person
published them both.

 > We can be
 > pedantic/lazy/ignore the "rubes" who give money to dinos or
 > we can recognize a special case and take their interests into
 > account without sacrificing anything essential, scientifically.
 >
 > If your standard is minimum fuss for the most humans (which
 > is how definitions of nonscientific words are settled over time),
 > then common usage dictates the answer:  Brontosaurus.

Yep, but Apatosaurus is *not* a nonscientific word, and scientific
words are defined more formally.
 >
 > Is it really worth it to spend
 > the next 50 years having to teach every school child about this
 > issue, or can the scientists rise above pedantry in this one
 > special case?

It is not mere pedantry.  We have a formalized code of rules
that specify in excruciating details what the correct name is for
any organism.  We cannot just ignore the rules at our whim.


There are exactly two ways to get Brontosaurus to be the scientific
name of the organism now known as Apatosaurus:

        1. Change the Rules of Zoological Nomenclature in some
           manner that allows this. (Fat chance).

        2. Appeal to the Commission to declare Brontosaurus
           a conserved name (one that is to be used despite
           not having priority).  A good case must generally
           be made of the damage that would be done by *not*
           conserving the name before the Commission will
           agree to this. [There are currently all of about
           *two* conserved names in all of hundreds of genera
           of dinosaurs].

[Actually, I suspect that Bakker *did* appeal to the Commission,
back about the time he published "Heresies" (many years ago),
and his arguments have been rejected].


swf@elsegundoca.ncr.com         sarima@netcom.com

The peace of God be with you.