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WHY SCROTUM IS NOT VALID



Regarding the words 'scrotum humanum' and their attachment to things 
dinosaurian, Laurie Nyveen asked...

> Can someone explain why - other than sheer embarrassment - this name 
> is not accepted?  Sure, it's a misnomer, but shouldn't it retain at 
> least the status of a nomen dubium?

Despite earlier comments to the contrary, Scrotum humanum was never 
proposed as an ostensibly valid name. Plot (1677) figured a bone 
fragment, currently thought to be the distal femur of _Megalosaurus_ 
(or a similar big theropod) in his book _The Natural History of 
Oxfordshire_. He thought that it may have been the petrified scrotum 
of a large human, and on his plate figuring this bone, it is labelled 
'Scrotum humanum'. He was not proposing Scrotum humanum as a 
taxonomic name for the bone, plus he was writing pre-Linnaeus (1758) 
in any case (names proposed pre-Linnaeus are irrelevant to 
post-Linnaen taxonomy) . 

Those authors (Bev Halstead and a few others I think) who suggested 
that _Scrotum_ was proposed as a valid taxonomic name, and that it 
may therefore have been a senior syonym of _Megalosaurus_ (in which 
the first name ever awarded to an extinct dinosaur would honour human 
genitals), were therefore in error.

"He's been skinning budgies again"

DARREN NAISH
darren.naish@port.ac.uk