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Re: Theropod Bias?



At 10:02 AM 1/31/97 -0600, you wrote:
>The following are the results of a semi-scientific survey conducted at my
University's library (this may show that I have *way* too much time on my
hands). :^)
>
>Accessing the on-line catalog, I conducted a literature search of the
science database (which has a limited timeframe; 1989 to present).  I
performed a keyword search of the following dinosaurian words: theropod,
sauropod, prosauropod, stegosaur, ankylosaur, hadrosaur, iguanodon,
ceratopsian (the new spelling wasn't recognized), and pachycephalosaur.  In
recording the total number of references provided, a suprising trend occurred.
>
><<Keyword>>              <<Hits>>
>Theropod                    35
>Sauropod/prosauropod        21
>Ankylosaur                   5
>Hadrosaur                    5
>Ceratopsian                  3
>Stegosaur                    1
>
>        [All other keywords provided no references]

Here is another possibility to add to the list:

Whereas "theropod" is a perfectly reasonable vernacular form of the formal
"Theropoda", it might be more common to find the following vernacular forms
of the ornithischians you mention in a title:
stegosaurid or stegosaurian
ankylosaurian, nodosaurid, ankylosaurid
hadrosaurid or hadrosaurian
iguanodont or iguanodontian
ceratopsid
pachycephalosaurian or pachycephalosaurid
How about good old "ornithopod" and "hypsilophodont"/"-dontid"/"-dontian",
to name just two?

Nevertheless, the real reason is that theropods are way cooler than anything
else that ever lived, so it is only natural that they get more air time.
(Oh, were my biases showing again... :-)

[Three hours, fifteen minutes until "The Long Night".  Excellent!]

Later, all!

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661

"To trace that life in its manifold changes through past ages to the present
is a ... difficult task, but one from which modern science does not shrink.
In this wide field, every earnest effort will meet with some degree of
success; every year will add new and important facts; and every generation
will bring to light some law, in accordance with which ancient life has been
changed into life as we see it around us to-day."
        --O.C. Marsh, Vice Presidential Address, AAAS, August 30, 1877