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Re: New guy

On Mon, 5 Feb 1996, T. Mike Keesey wrote:

> Hey all-
> I've been lurking on this list for a little while now, reckoned it was 
> about time to come out and ask a few questions that have been puzzling 
> me. (Sorry if you've heard 'em before, but there's no FAQ!)
> I was a dinosaur fanatic as a kid, but my enthusiasm wore off a bit. 
> Getting on the Net put me back in touch with the dinosaurian world. So 
> much has changed since I was gone! I'm trying to keep up, but I have a 
> few questions:
> 1. What's all this Ceratopia stuff? Back in the days of my youth I never 
> saw anything but CeratopSia. Someone get picky about the Latin or what?

Someone back way back when (Marsh, I think) was a little sloppy with his 
Greek.  The root in question is "o:ps, o:pos" (the colon indicating that 
the o is long, i.e. an omega).  The stem is "o:p-," meaning the correct 
derivation is technically "ceratopian."  The version with the "s" has 
become pretty well entrenched in the vocabulary, though, and I continue 
to use both.

> 2. Ditto for Therizinosauroidea and Segnosauria.

If you want to talk about the superfamily which includes all the known 
segnosaurs, the ICZN says it has to be Therizinosauroidea, as 
_Therizinosaurus cheloniformis_ was the first included genus named.  If 
you want to make it an order or anything else above a superfamily, you 
can call it Segnosauria or whatever else you want.

> 3. Did _Mononykus_ and the other alvarezsaurids have an arctometatarsalian 
> pes? I seem to remember reading that somewhere... If so, does that show 
> that birds are descended from arctometatarsalians, not maniraptorans?

The answers to your questions are "yes" and "not necessarily," 
respectively.  I tend to think of arctometatarsalians as a subset of the 
birds, which are a subset of the maniraptorans, although Tom Holtz :-), 
among others, will disagree.

Nick Pharris
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA 98447

"If you can't convince them, confuse them." -- Harry S. Truman