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Re: New issue of JVP 2001(2) (no JOKE)
Sorry, but it seems to me that requiring an object to precede the
subject in Latin-based generic names is a requirement that has long been
dispensed with. The use of a pure grammatical Latin has long been an
anachronistic goal to which few now strictly adhere (just as I used an
dangling participle in the preceding sentence, but avoided it in this
sentence since it shows that I know the difference). Personally I am
interested in usage, not in a strictly "pure" Latin.
I have no idea why you would bring up a "Hitler lizard" example.
Even if Hitler was a tyrant, this certainly does not mean all tyrants are
like Hitler. Likewise, a literal interpretations like "snatcher of Utah" or
"snatcher of swiftness" seem rather absurb to me. Snatcher of the dawn and
snatcher of fire are equally absurb literal translations which obviously do
not reflect the intentions of the authors of these names. Conchoraptor as a
snatcher of shells, I have no big problem with, no matter what kind of
shells they cracked (bivalves, brachiopods, large ostracodes or other
crustaceans, or even vertebrate eggshells on occasion). If one gets a
fixation on "proper" Latin grammar, one is liable to drive oneself crazy
given the ways it has been used in the latter part of the 20th Century.
E. Raymond Hall (a former employer of mine) likewise seemed to have
a fixation on priority, and even defied the International Commission (ICZN)
as a result. Not surprisingly the ICZN unanimously voted in 1985 for my
petition to validate Mesoplodon (a genus of whales), and put the two
forgotten generic names (which Hall dredged up) on the Official List of
Rejected Generic Names. There is a practical middle ground between totally
puristic Latin and a total disregard for grammar in general. We have to be
realistic and practical. Otherwise, the public and most of one's colleagues
are going to pin the "Ivory Tower" label on those who cling to outdated
From: "Jaime A. Headden" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: New issue of JVP 2001(2) (no JOKE)
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 21:53:40 -0700 (PDT)
There is precedent in regarding etymologies in these names by
their meaning, and not given interpretation. I will never call
*Tyrannosaurus* the "Hitler Lizard" for instance.
*Oviraptor* = snatcher of eggs
*Conchoraptor* = snatcher of shells
*Velociraptor* = snatcher of swift[ness]
*Utahraptor* = snatcher of [a/the] Utah [as if there was an
object called a Utah that could be grasped between the limbs]
*Bambiraptor* = snatcher of Bambi [not _ever_ in reference to
the Disney character, or the Italian word "bambino", but as a
nickname for the specimen]
*Rapator* [probably? a "revision" of _raptor_] = snatcher?
*Eoraptor* = snatcher of the dawn
*Variraptor* = snather of [a/the] Var [same as Utahraptor]
*Pyroraptor* = snatcher of fire
These are the etymological definitions. The intended and
utilized construct requires an _object_ to precede the suffix
-raptor, a word that refers to "one who snatches ..." where the
ellipsis is the object refered to. Perhaps Nick Pharris or Ben
Creisler can explain this better.
The inference of the use of the term "raptor" to apply to a
small predator has been to indicate some form of
"dromaeosaurid-like" theropod dinosaur, instead of the use of
the etymology; it is used as such even in birds of prey, which
_snatch_ with the feet. They are those who snatch prey.
A point: there is as much data supporting an egg-based diet as
a mullosk-based diet in oviraptorids, all of them. Barsbold
named *Conchoraptor* on the basis of his theory that the jaws
are over-built for eggs. However, the jaws are equally suited to
both, but seem designed for the processing of circular-section
shell. If you intend to attend the 2001 SVP in Bozeman, I should
be able to demonstrate this to anyone interested.
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