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Richardoestesia vs. Ricardoestesia



Ben Creisler bh480@scn.org
Richardoestesia vs. Ricardoestesia

George has argued that the correct spelling for 
Richardoestesia should be Ricardoestesia, and has used 
this emended spelling in his publications. Mickey used 
Ricardoestesia in his useful  recent write-up. Be that as 
it may, Richardoestesia is the spelling accepted in the 
Zoological Record, and virtually all published technical 
articles discussing the taxon still consistently use the 
spelling Richardoestesia .  Recent examples include:

Prieto-Marquez, A.,  R. Gaete, A. Galobart, & L. Ardevol. 
2000. A Richardoestesia-like theropod tooth from the Late 
Cretaceous foredeep, south-central Pyrenees, Spain.
Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae. 93 (3) : 497-501. Abstract: 
A theropod tooth reminiscent of the teeth of the North 
American species Richardoestesia gilmorei (Dinosauria: 
Theropoda) has been identified on the basis of its overall 
morphology and its rectangular and minute denticles. It 
was found associated with a dinosaur nesting site in 
deltaie deposits of the Aren Sandstone Formation near 
Tremp (Campanian, Late Cretaceous, south-central Pyrences, 
Spain). These preliminary results extend the fossil record 
of this taxon in Spain and would support the hypothetical 
survival of an Early Cretaceous Euramercian theropod 
lineage as far as the Late Cretaceous of southwestern 
Europe.

Fiorillo, A. & R. A. Gangloff. 2000. Theropod teeth from 
the Prince Creek Formation (Cretaceous) of Northern 
Alaska, with speculation on Arctic dinosaur paleoecology. 
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 20(4):675-682.

Sankey, J. 2001. Late Campanian southern dinosaurs, Aguja 
Formation, Big Bend, Texas. Journal of Paleontology. 75(1) 
208-215. 

I was consulted about the name Richardoestesia isosceles, 
so my name is associated with this spelling. George has 
cited the provisions in the ICZN (article 32; 3rd and 4th 
editions) for revising the original published spelling. 
I'm afraid I have to take issue with such an application 
of the provisions. Although the original authors may have 
intended to use the spelling Ricardoestesia, the published 
spelling Richardoestesia does not meet the Code's 
threshold for justifying a revised spelling as I read the 
ICZN text. A crucial detail here is a provision of  
32.5.1: "Incorrect transliteration or latinization and use 
of an inappropriate connecting vowels are not to be 
considered inadvertent errors."

The tricky point here is that Medieval Latin allowed BOTH 
Richardus and Ricardus as Latinized forms of Richard.  
The "ch" in this case would be pronounced like "k" because 
of its Germanic derivation (from ric hard, an Ancient 
Germanic phrase meaning "powerful leader"). The curious 
may search in Yahoo for either "Richardus" or "Ricardus"-- 
both queries bring up strings of hits on Latin texts or 
Latin document titles available online.  For example, 
prior to Shakespeare, there was a play called Richardus 
Tertius [i.e., Richard the Third] written by Dr. Thomas 
Legge. But there was also a famous document about Richard 
the Lion Hearted during the Third Crusade called 
Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi [The 
itinerary of the pilgrims and the deeds of King Richard]. 

Had the published name been misspelled "Picardoestesia" 
when the name is said to honor Richard Estes, changing the 
name to Ricardoestesia arguably could  be justified under 
the ICZN--though it appears that the Code is more lenient 
about emending species names than generic names.  Merely 
altering the latinization of a generic name with a 
spelling that obviously already refers to someone named 
Richard Estes, however, does not fit the provisions as I 
read them--particularly since the published latinization 
is perfectly acceptable on linguistic grounds. Moreover, 
the alternate spelling of the name Ricardoestesia in a 
caption would not appear to be adequate justification 
since the Code indicates that publication of a name in a 
caption does not make a name available (ICZN 13.6).

Usage in technical literature has pretty well decided the 
issue as I see it and, irksome as some may find it, the 
original published spelling Richardoestesia is the valid 
spelling for the name under the ICZN.