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Re: Bambiraptor

How about Qantasaurus, named after the Australian airline? To a >lesser extent, what about dinosaurs and other creatures named after >mythical figures, like the recently named Jobaria? Sereno and his >colleagues named this sauropod after a mythical figure of Tuareg >tradition (and the name that the nomads gave the dinosaur bones). >Is this 'unscientific', too? Or, are these names dumb?

No. It is difficult to describe _why_ most people generally would consider something "dumb" or not. Naming fossils after mythical entities, particularly in places where the mythology is largely unfamiliar in the West (e.g., Niger or Mongolia) is actually pretty cool, particularly when the mythical entity in question bears some passing resemblance to a dinosaur (in many cases, remember, there's some chance that fossils of one sort or another actually inspired the mythology to begin with!). Naming taxa after commercial organizations is, IMHO, a little more "dumb," but if the organization in question helped fund the dig and/or research, I think it's acceptable, if not taxonomically descriptive -- after all, people have named taxa for individuals who have funded work; why not an organization (not that I wish to ever see, for example, "Amazondotcomsaurus" -- it's not a collegiate football game, after all!). "Bambi," however, evokes a general sense of childishness, and most scientists would not, I think, wish their work to be viewed that way -- it's hard to take someone seriously when you view their work as juvenile.


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                     Jerry D. Harris
                 Fossil Preparation Lab
          New Mexico Museum of Natural History
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