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Re: Bambiraptor feinbergi

Caitlin R. Kiernan said:

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.

Well, Sonic Hedgehog was the name given to the hox gene that controls limb development, and this, as many on this list probably know, was named after the famous video game character. You might even make the case that Irritator challengeri (yipes!), or Hallucigenia and Sanctacarias (literally Santa Claws) from the Burgess Shale are stretching it a bit. Where is the so-called "dignity" in any of these names? They are "catchy." I can understand your anxiety about paleo looking "soft" to other "hard" scientists because of Bambiraptor and other recent "catchy" dinosaur names, but paleo has always been looked on as a secondary science to physics, chemistry, biology, etc. Of course, I would not agree with this assessment, but we deal with so many filters in paleo that we cannot be expected to conduct experiments in the same sense as scientists who can set up controls and repeat specific events. We have the burden of piecing together a one-time only event and must deal with many problems unheard of elsewhere (except, of course, related historical sciences like archaeology, anthropology, etc.). In the end, its not so much the name that matters but what the specimens yield in terms of the evolutionary story of dinosaurs that is important.

Matt Bonnan
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