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Re: Understanding names (long)



Larry, et al:

    Sherry is being far too modest in describing herself.

     I've known Sherry for at least 5+ years (I forget when we first met -
seems Jurassic to me!).  She has been a Dinosaur Docent at the Academy
(ANSP), and a Overnight Safari teacher, as well as throwing together a crash
course for non-dino experts to appear to be sufficiently expert for the
general public in preparation for DinoFest.  ['Dinosaurs in 10 minutes' I
think it was called].

    She has always thrown a tremendous amount of energy (which she often
seems to have readily available) into the study of dinosaurs and the more
practical aspects of getting them out of the ground and cleaning them up, as
well as teaching about them.

     She went with a team from ANSP a few years ago to help dig out the
sauropod (in Colorado) which she now slavishly works over in the prep lab.
[The sauropod is considered to be _Apatasaurus_, although Bob Bakker looked
at one section of vertebral column being prepped and declared it a very
large _Camarasaurus_, other sauropod workers (such as Jack McIntosh) said
not enough of the specimen has been exposed].   As to not knowing a femur
from a manus - she might mean how they look in situ (i.e. in the matrix).

    She has a day -job keeping computers running correctly for some business
somewhere locally.  (Not exactly a newbie concerning computers).

    She seems to remember most information mentioned to her - especially
concerning dinosaurs.  (Being somewhat like that - with a lot of different
topics as well - I feel that Sherry and I may be kindred spirits in that
respect - she has MUCH more energy than I do, though).  She is not afraid to
ask any paleontologist any question that she may have - and can often be
seen bending Peter Dodson's or Ted Daeschler's ear for a long time if she
has a connected series of questions.  {Both of them are often very willing
to listen and teach people like Sherry and myself, etc.}

    As to her original posting, suggesting that sometimes scientific names
are made to be confusing mumbo-jumbo --- It often SEEMS that way, but a
carefully reading (with a Greek to English or Latin to English dictionary)
soon shows us the light.

    By the way, Sherry and I probably owe a lot of our involvement with
dinosaurs at ANSP to 'Joanosaurus' - Joan Sommerfield, a recently retired
public school science teacher who has devoted countless hours to ANSP and to
dinosaurs and to science.  (She snagged me into the Docent program back in
1984).   Those of us who know Joan probably admire her fiesty-ness most of
all.

    Sorry if this is getting too maudlin for normal reading - just trying to
acknowledge some local people properly.

    Allan Edels


-----Original Message-----
From: Larry Dunn <larrydunn@hotmail.com>
To: dinosaur@usc.edu <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Date: Saturday, May 02, 1998 3:03 AM
Subject: Re: Understanding names (long)


>From: "Sherry Michael" <MICHAELS@preit.com>
>
>>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.
>
>The technical terms themselves are certainly complex, but their purpose
>is to make communication easier -- it's easier to use the (perhaps
>tongue-twisting) scientific term than to fully describe the (say)
>taxonomic term every time you say something about it.
>
>I speak from experience.  In the law we use certain terms which are
>"terms of art;" you'd never know what "promissory estoppal" is just by
>hearing the term, but having the term in the first place greatly
>simplifies matters for us.  And if you have a controversy that needs
>resolution by a court, you want us to advocate for you at full capacity!
>
>If you hate lawyers, and who doesn't, use doctors instead as an analogy.
>There you are on the operating table.  Something wrong happens.  The
>doctor says, "nurse, give me the pointy thing with the little curve at
>the end -- no, no that one, the one two over to the left -- oops, meant
>to say third over ..."  An absurd example, of course, but I think you
>get the point:  Let the pros use their tongue twisters with each other.
>Plenty of them then turn to us and explain clearly.  (It's so ironic
>that Holtz was earlier accused in this thread yet here he is always
>ready to answer questions!)
>
>>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.
>
>But I'd say that this places you out of the category of amateur interest
>I was discussing.  You need to know more than I do.
>
>Larry
>
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