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Re: Bambiraptor feinbergi
Matt Bonnan wrote:
>>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.<<
And I honestly believe that this example is as absurd as the case of
"Bambiraptor" and have made a fuss about it elsewhere. *Why* have we begun to
think first of video games and cartoon characters when choosing new
>>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.<<
Yes, _Irritator_ is an example of a problematic name similar to
"Bambiraptor." But _Hallucigenia_ isn't. Wheras the former is meant as a pun,
the latter is a legitimate use of Latin (_hallucinatio_) to *describe* a very
>>Where is the so-called "dignity" in any of these names? They are
I'm not sure what your point is, since I would say that _Irritator_ is part
of the problem (though I admit it at least looks better than "Bambiraptor").
>>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.<<
How we choose names for new taxa isn't related to the particular limitations
of our science. It does not follow that we have a license to be less rigorous
in composing names, because our science may be (at times) less experimental.
The ICZN oversees *all* taxonomic names, living and extinct, and we all work
with the same rules.
And this is something that occurred to me last night, after I'd already
posted . . .
All this business about names being easier to remember if they are simple or
catchy or humorous, it's nonsense. For very many years children, *five* year
olds, have been dealing just fine with names as complex as _Parasaurolophus_,
_Struthiomimus_, and _Archaeopteryx_, without being able to relate them to
cuddly cartoon characters.
Trying to second-guess the public's ability to recall a name is both futile
and insulting, and presents us with a good case of the tail wagging the dog.
Caitlin R. Kiernan