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Re: Ribbon Reptile



Rutger Jansma writes:

<< > Perhaps the meaning of the name Elasmosaurus, metal plate lizard, is in
> reference to the current thinking at the time of describing. IIRC
> Plesiosaurs in general were thought of as being like a snake in a turtle
> body and thinking of a turtle body, the very notable shield on it's back
> pops up in my head. This is used for protection, can't think of another
> function, as was the metal harnas in the Middle Ages with the knights and
> those sort of friendly fella's :) And now to remember the translation of
the
> name of Elasmosaurus, it's easy to see the reference to the armor segment
of
> the name and it's comparison from the turtle shield and the knight's
armor.
> As for the origin of the mix-up, beats me...>>

Forget the turtle part. The "plates" refer to the huge slabs of bone that 
comprise the shoulder and hip girdles (scapula & coracoid, pubis & ischium).

I would like to add here that Jane Davidson's fascinating paper, "Bonehead 
mistakes: The backround in scientific literature and illustrations for Edward 
Drinker Cope's first restoration of Elasmosaurus platyurus" has just been 
published by the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of 
Philadelphia, 152: 215-240. If you would like a copy, give her a holler at:
 jdhexen@unr.edu
A very interesting and well-illustrated paper that does away with some 
paleomythology. DV