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Re: Dinosaur skin revisited

I hope this doesn't turn into another lengthy and boring thread on Greek and
Latin, but...

In a message dated 97-08-15 13:25:33 EDT, Dinogeorge@AOL.COM writes:

> _Compsognathus_ is (by
>  established usage as well as the ending -us) a masculine noun (despite
>  derived from the feminine Greek _gnathos_), so the species epithet should
>  spelled _primus_,

Well, I don't know what weight "established usage" carries, but the ending
"-us" has nothing to do (necessarily) with the gender of the noun.  A number
of Latin nouns--including most trees and several names for countries--end in
"-us" but are feminine.  In Greek feminine nouns in "-os" are even more
widespread, including not only "gnathos" but also "hodos" [road] and
"parthenos" [maiden].  Since a Greek or Latin compound noun takes its gender
from the last element, _Compsognathus_ is a feminine word, and the species
should, I think, be _prima_.