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Re: New name for Syntarsus



From: Ben Creisler bh480@scn.org
Re: New name for Syntarsus

Since Michael Raath has been an editor on the journal 
Palaeontologica Africana for many years, he probably could 
have been contacted through the journal. I did a quick 
search through various databases and found his name both 
as an author and as an editor through the late 1990s up to 
2001. Clearly there was plenty of evidence he was alive,  
and it's likely that he could  have been contacted with 
some additional effort before the article replacing the 
name Syntarsus was finally published.  The damage is done 
I guess but it's unfortunate in my opinion. Someone will 
have to break the news to him about losing authorship of 
the generic name for the taxon he's worked on for so many 
years. Hard to say if he'll appreciate the "joke name" 
either. 

I've no great gripe about "joke names" as such in 
vertebrate paleontology.  The amphibian Cuttysarkus is 
said to be named for a brand of whiskey, and  
Necrosuchus "dead crocodile" was so-called by Gaylord 
Simpson as I recall because a local woman asked if the 
fossil was "dead" while she watched the crew dig it up.  
In such cases, though, the person or persons who 
discovered and described the fossils also named them.  It 
might have been better to reserve the name Megapnosaurus 
for a new dinosaur from Montana that actually was big--or 
it might it could have been OK as a  species name for a 
sauropod.