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Re: Dinosaur skin revisited

In a message dated 97-08-19 10:08:24 EDT, NJPharris@AOL.COM writes:

<< 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_. >>

Yes, this is what we've already been through. Since -us doesn't make the word
>necessarily< masculine, and the original Greek gender doesn't make the word
>necessarily< feminine, we have to go by prior usage, if there is any.
Unfortunately, the species epithet of the type species _Compsognathus
elegans_ doesn't tell us the gender of _Compsognathus_. But I note the
scientific name _Procompsognathus triassicus_, coined in 1913. Here the root
-gnathus is used with the masculine adjectival species epithet _triassicus_.
This serves to establish the masculine gender of the generic name
_Procompsognathus_ and thus, by default, the gender of _Compsognathus_, which
surely cannot be different from that of _Procompsognathus_. Convoluted, eh?