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Dinosaur FAQ #4
Happy new year to everyone! I've finally ploughed my way through the
masses of accumulated dino-email that continued pouring in over the
holiday period (don't you people have families to go to? :-) so I am
ready to resume FAQ operations.
Thanks to everyone who's sent more input to FAQ #2 (``What good
dinosaur books are available?'') It's become apparent that
maintaining the answer to this question is a job in itself, which is a
part of the reason that I've gone a bit quiet recently (the other main
reason is Christmas, of course). So work continues on that -- as
always, you can see the evolving response at
Thanks also to those who replied to FAQ #3, which was on how to obtain
technical papers and out-of-print books. Subsequent activity on the
list shows clearly that this is still a _very_ open question! I hope
to revisit this one soon.
For now, it's time to launch FAQ #4, which is as follows:
Why do scientific descriptions of anatomical features use
different words from everyday language? Is it really any
clearer to say ``pes'' instead of ``foot'', ``edentulous''
instead of ``toothless'', etc?
Here's what Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary has to say
about ``edentulous'' (I'm quoting the 1913 edition because
it's freely available on the web, e.g. at www.dict.org but I
guess the definition's not changed much in eighty years.)
Edentulous \E*den"tu*lous\ (?; 135), a. [L. edentulus; e
out + dens, dentis, tooth.]
So what does the longer and more obscure word buy us?
As always, responses to <firstname.lastname@example.org> please -- they will be
seen by me and by anyone who's registered an interest in the
FAQ-building process (which you too are very welcome to do at
should you wish.)
Thanks in advance!
/o ) \/ Mike Taylor -- <email@example.com> -- http://www.miketaylor.org.uk/
)_v__/\ "If your religion does not change you, then you should change
your religion" -- Elbert Hubbard.