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dated 95-09-17 22:24:04 EDT, sj@io.com (Steve Jackson) writes:

>A PYRAMID Magazine article just crossed my desk for approval, and it has 
>"ceratopsian" all the way through it. Is the new spelling authoritative? 
>Should I invite our typesetter to curse my name as she does a global 
>search and replace?
>
>

I would, of course, unhesitatingly employ "ceratopian." (A global search and
replace is not that difficult.) That is the CORRECT spelling. But because
Marsh originally misspelled it "Ceratopsia" and was slavishly followed by
hordes of uncritical dinosaurologists thereafter, the incorrect spelling
became institutionalized. The Zoological Code does not govern names above the
family level, which is what "Ceratopsia" and "Ceratopia" are, so there
anything goes; NEITHER name is "authoritative," and you really can take your
choice. (But choose correctly, my son.) In the formation and usage of
family-level names, however, the 1997 edition of the Code will likely give
overwhelming weight to "established usage," so such barbarisms as
Ceratopsidae, Protoceratopsidae, Ceratopsinae, and so forth could actually
survive and become formally established unless enough authors are willing to
use the correct names (Ceratopidae, Protoceratopidae, Ceratopinae, etc.) NOW.
The more times the correct spellings appear in print, the better the case for
keeping them correct in the future.

What is this PYRAMID magazine?

G.O.