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Pinching arctus (was RE: Noasaurids (Re: Late Triassic Footprints with Reversed Hallux))
> From: Jaime A. Headden [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Mike Keesey (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
> <There has got to be a better word for that. What's the opposite of
> "arcto-" ("pinched")?>
> Well, actually ... _arctos_ or the Latin version _arctus_ does not mean
> pinched, that's _urgeo_ (to pinch); the word means more close to being
> closed off or narrowed, but it is the general idea. Sorry.
Well, sorry again, as the "arctus" in "arctometatarsalian" is not a cognate
with the Greek "arktos" (bear; hence the Arctic as Land of the Bear) (which
does, of course, enter Latin as "arctus").
The "arctus" used in "arctometatarsalian" is a variant of the Latin word
"artus": tight, confined; "artare", to compress. Even more specifically, it
was drawn from a word already present in zoology and anatomy: "coarctate"
meaning "constricted, narrowed, or compressed, as a segment of a blood
The two Latin "arctus" words are homonyms, but not synonyms.
An aside: I had toyed with an idea of using "fascis" (a tight bundle) as a
root for the name of the structure, but this would have lead to the
unpleasant idea of fascist dinosaurs...
> [on "antiarctometatarsalian" ... as put, a mouth full]
Actually, there is an old pun that came up in a correspondence with (I
believe) Jim Farlow back in the mid 1990s. Somehow the idea that if
artcometatarsalians were common in the the Northern Hemisphere of the
Cretaceous, then in the Southern Hemisphere there must have been
"antarctometatarsalians". Given that Velocisaurus is sort of the reverse of
the artcomets (metatatarsal III proportionately thicker than the "pinched"
II and IV), and its geographic placement in South America, it seemed to fit
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Department of Geology Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland College Park Scholars
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: 301-405-4084 Email: email@example.com
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