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Re: The millennial dinosaur

Richard Cowen (cowen@geology.ucdavis.edu) wrote:

<I haven't read all the recent correspondence, so
forgive me if this whining has happened before.>

  No, so far, you're the first. :)

<It gets up my nose that the new Sinornithosaurus is
called millenii. Yes, that's right, THEY SPELLED IT
WRONG. The authors explain carefully that they are
naming the dinosaur in honor of the "millennium". Yes,
they spelled that one correctly, IN THE SAME SENTENCE.
I don't get it. Could they really have been that
sloppy? or is this come obscure Chinese joke? Is the
rest of the work sloppy too?>

  Here's my take on the etymology, Xu et al. 1999
aside (as well as my basic Latin knowledge, probably
very poor compared to Ben's, but hey, I do try):

  *Sinornithosaurus millenii*:

Sino- > Sinae, Lat. = name for ancient Chinese
        country, generally applied to all of China;;
ornitho- > comb. form. of ornis, Lat. > ornithos, Gr.
        = bird;;
-saurus > suffix, Lat. > sauros, Gr. = lizard or
        reptile; in this sense, "dinosaur";;
millenii > millenium, Lat. = one thousand [years];
        derived from a possessive where nouns ending
        in -um or -us are transformed to -i, but where
        also the word ends in -ium or -ius, the
        transformation is -ii, as the original "i"
        does not get altered; so = the millenium's;;
ergo == "the Millenium's {yes, capitalized} Chinese
        bird-lizard" not "Chinese bird-like dinosaur"
        as Xu et al. 1999 stated due to a conspicuous
        lack of an -oides or -oide- [both latinized
        Greek] in the name, but the spirit is there.

  How'd I do, Ben? Anyone have a problem with my
reasoning or syntax?

Jaime "James" A. Headden

"Come the path that leads us to our fortune."

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