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Re: Anatomical terminology



        So far, I have heard some very good arguments for the "new"
terminology. the most compelling have centered around the need to maintain
nomenclatural comparability across varied forms. Using anatomically
"internal" references makes the nomenclature more likely to survive the
perils of evoutionary modification (D. Naish brought up the example of the
penguin, where the natural positioning of the body does not conform very
well to mostnon-hominid concepts of anterior and posterior). Several others,
including an more-than-usually eloquent Jerry Harris (what have you done to
him, Josh, he sounds like Dodson?), made aa variety of supporting points,
mostly having to do with the need to standardize (Jerry: I AM more used to
the "new" system than I ever wanted to be :). One point Jerry hinted at, but
which I don't think anyone has made, is that the current terms "dorsal" and
"ventral" already correspond to cranial and caudal, in that reference a
direction based on the position of an extreme location on the tetrapod
skeleton (the dorsum and venter).
        I am not happy with the "new" terminology, but I find the penguin
convincing (if I don't, she may rap me across the knuckles with a ruler). I
still believe that some applications are potentially quite confusing, but,
as several people have pointed out, they are no more confusing than the old
anterior-posterior convention.

        So, if I use this system, will y'all agree to stop using "basal?"

        Wagner
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     Jonathan R. Wagner, Dept. of Geosciences, TTU, Lubbock, TX 79409-1053
  "Why do I sense we've picked up another pathetic lifeform?" - Obi-Wan Kenobi