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Re: Lizard of Oz

Concerning the names _Utahraptor_ and _Ozraptor_, etc., etc....  The people
naming these animals are naming them as they think fits the correct
descriptive structure.

    For example, _Velociraptor mongoliensis_ means "speedy plunderer from
Mongolia".  That's a fairly good name, explaining where it was found, and
indicating that it may have been a fast-moving predator.  If you take into
account the somewhat common term "raptor" meaning certain kinds of birds of
prey, the name evokes the image of a bird-like creature as well.

    Since the popularization of the term raptor ("Jurassic Park"), many
people (lay-people as well as scientists) know what kind of body-plan to
expect when someone uses that term in the name of a dinosaur.  That is, a
bipedal, lightly-built, probably quick-moving, large-brained, large-eyed
predator, with vicious-looking, large, sickle-claws on the rear feet
(second claw), grasping claws on the front feet (hands), and stiffened tail
[aka, a dromaeosaur].

    _Utahraptor_ may have been better named, but only marginally so.
(Possibly something like:  _Gigaraptor utahensis_  - giant plunderer from

    As an aside, at one point some people were examining the idea that
_Utahraptor_ was a synonym of _Dryptosaurus_ [ formerly known as _Laelaps_]
(from New Jersey).  I don't have any current followup on this.

    Allan Edels