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Re: Dinosaur skin revisited

In a message dated 97-08-21 00:35:27 EDT, NJPharris writes:

<< In a message dated 97-08-19 12:06:37 EDT, Dinogeorge writes:
 > Since -us doesn't make the word >necessarily< masculine, and the original 
 > Greek gender doesn't make the word >necessarily< feminine, 
 Why not?  I thought this was the whole point of this discussion:  the gender
of the name, based on the gender of the root in the language from which it
was borrowed, determines the gender form of species epithets.  In Greek, the
word "gnathos", whether "kompse" or otherwise, is feminine.>>
There is no nomenclatural rule that insists that the gender in Latin >must<
agree with the gender in the original Greek. This is a convention that some
authors follow, e.g., David Norman in converting _Iguanodon anglicum_ (first
usage, neuter) to _Iguanodon anglicus_ (gender of -odon masculine, from Greek
odon, odous). With respect to -gnathus, I have so far been unable to find in
the literature any usage of the root as feminine, but plenty that use it as
masculine, so masculine it is by prevailing usage. It is also pretty easy to
argue that the -us ending is not a feminine -us (as in manus) but the much
more frequent masculine -us, that just the "gnath" part of the root was taken
from the Greek and masculinized with the -us ending when Latinized.

<< >  But I note the scientific name _Procompsognathus triassicus_, coined in
 >  Here the root -gnathus is used with the masculine adjectival species
 > _triassicus_. 
 So why not just amend this to _P. triassica_ as you did with the others? >>

_Procompsognathus triassicus_ isn't the only name with root -gnathus that is
used as a masculine noun. There are several among the pterosaurs. This is
certainly an instance where there's no point to bucking the trend.