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Re: Specific names



        Nick Pharris wrote:
>>  <Deltatheridium pretrituberculare tardum>
>>  
>>    "The late early third swelling Delta beast"
>
>It gets worse: "slow before-three-swellings *little* delta beast"

        Stanley Friesen:
>>Deltatheridium pretrituberculare tardum
>>
>Before Three Tubercles/Bumps
>What this signifies, I cannot say.

        I believe the "delta" refers to the form of the molars of this
critter. It is quite possible that the specific epithet refers to to the
inferred phylogenetic or morphoclinal position of the molar relative to a
morphology believed to be more derived (although I don't recall a
"trituberculate" molar, I am by no means a mammal person.

        This raises an interesting point: the names we give to species are
trivial (no weak pun intended, ICZN fans). The important point (IMHO) is
that the animal has been properly named. It may not be possible in all cases
to understand the meaning of the name of an animal outside one's own field
(or even inside one's own field, see _Kritosaurus_ as an example). Still, it
is fun...

        On a different point, regarding the suggestion that _Maiasaura
peeblesorum_ ought to be changed to _Maiasaura peebls*A*rum_: Our local bevy
of latinophiles believe that the proposed change is inappropriate, as the
specific epithet is a *noun* in the genetive plural, not an adjective.
Possesive nouns are not required (by the rules of Latin, perhaps not by the
rules of the ICZN) to agree with their object in gender or number
(obviously, since your gender does not change just because you own a female
dog, and you don't spawn a clone when you buy a new dog). Any thoughts from
y'all out there?

        Wagner
         
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     Jonathan R. Wagner, Dept. of Geosciences, TTU, Lubbock, TX 79409-1053
  "Why do I sense we've picked up another pathetic lifeform?" - Obi-Wan Kenobi