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Re: Understanding names (long)


I do humbly disagree with you to a point. While I think that it is up to us 
amateurs to learn basic anatomical and geological terms, I also think some 
scientists like to use big words because they can. There is no sense obscuring 
points of a technical paper with mumbo-jumbo. This doesn't help anyone. Luckily 
most paleos are reasonable, but some other fields...ick.

>We really do have to let the dinosaur paleontologists do their thing with each 
>other in order to get it right.  If they are too busy trying to entertain us 
>while doing their technical work they'll inevitably be distracted from the job 
>at hand.

Well, some of us are trying to learn this stuff to aid the scientists. I'm a 
preparator and am trying to learn so I can become more useful. It's just not 
for my idle curiosities.

Part of the job of scientists is to educate. Otherwise, why bother with 
research unlocking the past if you don't tell the Populus what you have found? 
When they are too busy to do so, it's up to us to try to spread the word by 
working at local museums, schools, etc.

>Fortunately, we no longer have to rely on the likes of Don Lessem to 
>(mis)translate the technical work for us.  Paleontologists have increasingly 
>taken to writing books for the general reader that explain things more clearly.

Heap the blessings on the folks who do spend time with us. If it wasn't for 
Peter Dodson I wouldn't know a manus from a femur! Almost everyone without 
exception has been very generous to me. Dr. Holtz has always been there to 
answer questions from the amateur on this list.

I think more to the point- sometimes you have to put a sock in it to learn 
anything. That's why I have mostly lurked on this list. While I think it's 
acceptable to play armchair paleontologist (isn't that a function of this list? 
To chuck around ideas?) there are folks around who know more than we do! We 
can't hear what they are trying to teach if we become output devices.

-Sherry Michael