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Re: BRONTOSAURUS FOREVER!
--- Dinogeorge@aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 6/20/02 4:04:55 AM EST, email@example.com writes:
> << I think most laymen would be very surprised to be shown a picture of, say,
> _Brachiosaurus_ and told that it's a brontosaur. >>
> Well, "brontosaur" is properly applied just to members of the genus
> Brontosaurus, which, being a junior synonym of Apatosaurus, means
> "apatosaur." For a member of the group Brontosauria, the noun "brontosaurian"
> applies (this distinction is very frequently misapplied by dinosaur workers,
> unfortunately, so we get, e.g., "hadrosaur" for "hadrosaurian," "ankylosaur"
> for "ankylosaurian," and so forth). So Brachiosaurus would be a brontosaurian
> but not a brontosaur.
You just misapplied it yourself. By that logic, "dinosaur workers" should be
"dinosaurian workers". "Dinosaur workers" would mean those working on
_Dinosaurus_, which is a junior synonym of _Rhopalodon_ (a dinocephalian, not
even a member of _Dinosauria_).
Using "-saur" for vernacular nouns is quite prevalent. The only taxon I can
think of which it *isn't* used for is _Sauria_ itself.
Generally I'm for prescriptivism over descriptivism when it comes to vernacular
forms of taxa (e.g. I prefer "enantiornithean" to the more prevalent
"enantiornithine", because the latter should be reserved for Enantiornithinae),
but sometimes it's pointless to swim against the flow. I doubt they're going to
rename this "The Dinosaurian Mailing List".
Besides, there are two problems with your system:
1) "-saurian" is generally understood to be an adjective. Saying that Jack
Horner is a hadrosaurian worker makes it sound like he's a proletariat
2) Genus names are usually singular nouns already. Making English vernacular
nouns from them is kind of pointless.
My $0.02 --
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