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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 <dinofaq@egroups.com> 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 -- <mirk@mail.org> -- http://www.miketaylor.org.uk/
)_v__/\  "If your religion does not change you, then you should change
         your religion" -- Elbert Hubbard.