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Re: Bambiraptor feinbergi



Jordan Mallon wrote:

(snip)

>I keep thinking back to something Bakker said in the book "Hunting 
Dinosaurs".  I >don't have the book with me now, but I think I remember him 
explaining that he likes >simple names just because they're easier to 
remember.  He used his "Drinker" and >"Opisthocoelicaudia" as an example. 

I think this is part of the problem. While paleontologists do have to concern 
themselves, to a degree, with educating laymen, a primary concern when 
choosing a name for a new taxon should *not* be catchiness (regardless of 
what Bakker has said). Animals, whether fossil or extant, are not products to 
be marketed to consumers, and naming them is a matter of choosing generic 
names that are both appropriate and useful to science, not names that will be 
easy to remember (though I've never had any trouble with 
_Opisthocoelicaudia_).

And _Drinker_ (like _Othnielia_), while an unusual name, isn't comparable to 
the situation with "Bambiraptor." On the one hand, you have a dinosaur named 
for a paleontologist who contributed enormously to our understanding of 
dinosaurs; on the other, you have a Disney character. _Drinker_ is 
unorthodox, but isn't juvenile. I truly fear that names like "Bambiraptor," 
if their erection becomes commonplace, will serve to undermine some of the 
dignity of taxonomy *and* vertebrate paleontology.

>Bambiraptor is quite a memorable name (as compared to 
Micropachycephalosaurus).

Again, it's not an issue of being memorable. One of these names, though it 
may appear cumbersome, is useful, containing data about the animal in 
question, while the other, aside from being ridiculous, is devoid of any 
useful information about the animal. If we have a choice between "small 
thick-skulled reptile" and "cartoon deer robber" (and I'll ignore for a 
moment the somewhat detrimental mania over "-raptor"), I think it's a pretty 
easy choice to make.

Caitlin R. Kiernan