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Re: Specific names

In a message dated 10/14/99 3:22:40 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
qilongia@yahoo.com writes:
>  <(Apatosaurus) ajax>
>    "The Ajax deceptive lizard"
>    [here's a problem: Ajax was a Greek figure (there
>  were actually two of them), with an emphasis on the
>  Trojan War hero who fought Odysseus for the armor of
>  Achilles upon that man's death, and essentially
>  provides for the idea of a "superhero" or person of
>  immense courage or strength -- hence the brandname
>  bathroom cleaner; in this sense, it should be *A.
>  ajaxi.*]

Or better, since this name really has a genitive case, A. ajacis (Latin) or 
A. ajantos (Greek).

Then again, maybe the animal itself is the superhero.

>  <(Compsognathus) longipes>
>    "long-footed delicate jaw"
>    What I'm having difficulty with is *C.
>  corallestris*, which, as far as I can tell, means
>  "delicate jaw from the coral [reef]."

Could be, as far as I know.  The Solnhofen is a lagoon deposit, after all, 
and _C. corallestris_ was thought to be aquatic when it was named.

>  <(Cycnorhamphus) suevicus">
>    "The Sueve swan beak [or snout]

The specific name refers to Swabia, in southwestern Germany, or to the 
Suevi/Suebi, a Germanic tribe that lived there.

>  <Asioryctes nemegetensis>
>    ?? [from the Nemegt [Formation]] anyway

Assuming it has nothing to do with owls (_Asio_), it looks like "Asian digger 
from Nemegt"

oryctes < Gk. orysso "I dig" (stem orych-)

>  <Deltatheridium pretrituberculare tardum>
>    "The late early third swelling Delta beast"

It gets worse: "slow before-three-swellings *little* delta beast"

-idium < Gk. -idion, diminutive suffix

>  <Zalambdalestes lechi>
>    "Lech's zalambda thief"
>    _Zalambda_, from _za_ Gr., very + _lambda_ Gr., "L".

I think "Lech's zalambdodont thief" is more to the point.  The zalambdodont 
condition is one of those incomprehensible mammal-paleo concepts :-).

Nice translatin', Tex.

--Nick P.