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Re: Whats in a name?

Like it or not, science is not there to serve just scientists. If
the general public latches onto a popular buzz word it can be
extremely difficult to undo. How many people still use the term
brontosaurus? I have heard Dr Bakker use the general term
"brontosaur" to describe all sauropods. And why not? Scientific
funding can come from large part from public sources. The dinosaur
club here in Australia helps fund local palaeontological research,
and what of the funds generated by the Great Russian Dinosaur
exhibit when it visited? I personally donated money many years ago
to keep "Eric" the opalised pliosaur here in Australia. If a
particular scientific discipline relies in some part on public
sources of funding (and let's face it, palaeontology is never
going to build alternative power plants or cure cancer), then why
not throw the public a few buzz-word bones now and then? As long as
those in the know can discern correct terminology from popular
culture I don't see that terms such as "raptor" are all that
damaging. At least the public shows an interest. After all, many
attention spans may not be up to pronouncing 4 syllable words or
more (did I say that?).

By the way, no-one seems to have complained about "compy" or "trike".
Using compy to describe Procompsognathus can easily confuse it
with Compsognathus, much more so than the raptor -
velociraptor/utahraptor difference.

        Dann Pigdon
        Melbourne, Australia