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RE: Ribbon Reptile

Plesiosaur means 'almost lizard' and refers to its' position on the Great Chain 
of Being. 
To quote from de La Beche and Conybeare 1821 (which you can find on my web 
"A skeleton of the animal in question, deficient only in the bones of the head, 
preserved in the well known collection of Col. Birch, (who most liberally 
allowed us the full use of the very valuable materials he possessed)* confirmed 
in a most satisfactory manner most of my previous conjectures, and enabled us 
to assign to it its true place in the zoological order, and to designate it by 
an appropriate name. That of Plesiosaurus has been chosen, as expressing its 
near approach to the order Lacerta."

Richard Forrest

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
Sent: 08 December 2002 20:38
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Ribbon Reptile

Adam Stuart Smith writes:

<< Cope's infamous _Elasmosaurus_ actually translates as
'metal plate lizard' rather than the commonly cited
'ribbon lizard' (See the Plesiosaur Translation Guide
of Ben Creisler for more). I admit feeling a little
disappointment upon learning this, somehow the âribbon
reptileâ I grew up with just sounds right! Anyway, I
was wondering if anyone knew the origin of this
etymological mix-up? >>

According to Ben's invaluable guide, "ribbon reptile" would (erroneously) 
pertain more to Plesiosaurus, rather than Elasmosaurus. DV