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Re: Dinosaurs Breathed Like Birds

Andrew Simpson (deathspresso@yahoo.com) wrote:

<I like the hard to pronounce names like Opusthocoelicaudia as long as the mean
something. (posterior cavity tail referring to it's bizarre rigid tail) I think
dinosaur names should mean something and generally not just a place name.>

  Well, proper Latin and Greek stems make for good structure, but not all names
use this.

<What does Diplodocus mean? Double Beam.>

  In reference to the double-keeled nature of the middle to distal tail
chevrons. No one seems to know that *Apatosaurus* was named because the tail
differed slightly from *Diplodocus*, whereas it's appearance was "deceptive"
(and nothing to do with the head ot any so-called name change given it was
named before anyone knew about *Brontosaurus*).

<What does Ut@hraptor mean? Plunderer of Utah. Hey, it's never been to Utah let
alone plundered it.>

  Well, actually ... it's FROM Utah. 

<I don't mind so much what's his name calling his find DRINKER (he is, like all
paleontologists, an alcho... kidding)>

  Well, Bakker is a fan of Cope's, and because Marsh had a dinosaur named for
HIS middle name, Othneil, Bakker felt Edward DRINKER Cope should get one too. I
gather the lack of a "-ia" was for the sound and look of the name.

<I am somewhat understanding of countries and occasionally provinces having
dinosaurs named after them, how many ways can you describe a Sauropod.>

  Hundreds and thousands of ways. Not everyone looks into the details. It turns
out sauropods vary in cervical and cranial structure quite a bit, mostly in
their laminae. It's very hard, however, to name a dinosaur after a condition of
the laminae. Then again, you can choose holidays (*Saturnalia*) or people
(*Augustinia*) or equatorial location (*Borealosuchus, a croc I know, and
*Austrosaurus*/*Antarctosaurus* [which means south, not from the Antarctic]).
There are so many more theropods being named after silly and arbitary things
that it's just ... dumb.

  With all due respect, there's only so much that goes for the worst dinosaur
joke: *Megapnosaurus*, which is a name for one of the more important dinosaurs
in early dinosaur biogeographic history.


  Well, again, history has more involvement in this than one might think.
Titans, from the Greek _titanos_, were great and powerful beings that,
essentially, created the universe. The term is not always used to refer to
physical proportions, but the "greatness" of the being in question. 

<And I understand the Chinese animals being named for local rivers we would
have most likely never heard of, but I do mind those people who named their two
dino finds after their kids. That's just rude. The 2nd part of the name can and
should be whatever you want it to be.>


  *Timimus* is names for TWO people, Tim Flannery and Tim Rich. Yes,
*Leaellynasaura* is named for Leaellyn Rich, who is following her parents into
paleo. *Qantassaurus* is named for the airline which transported the animal
(and let me tell you, they had PLENTY features to choose from).
*Atlascopcosaurus* was named (as *Gasosaurus* from China via Dong's
imagination) for the company lending it's construction equipment. BTW, there's
an American company called Trex which Horner and many others have used for
helping the unearthing of the dino, and a little-known organization known as
the U.S. Army which has lent its helicopters in lifting out blocks no man could
move intact, so how would we honor their assistance and aid? A nice thank you
in the end of the acknowledgments of the paper? Sorry if this sounds too
critical, but often the honorees of the name deserve it in the eyes of those
who choose the name. For example, *Eotyrannus* is probably _not_ the earliest
(aka, "dawn") tyrannosauroid, but it eas the earliest one found to date; *E.
lengi* honors Gavin Leng, who found the skeleton, BUT an earlier suggested name
had been to honor the _genus_ for Gavin Leng, either using his first or second
names as the choice to add -saurus to. This happens a LOT because, simply,
maybe that's what the authors _want_ to do, not that they can't come up with
anything else.

<Who agrees?>

  I think the authors have the honor to name it what they wish. As long as it
is not obsence or upsetting, they can do so. Carolus Linnaeus named many
organisms for reproductive parts, and while there had been a vigorous attempt
to change these for the sake of victorian-esque propriety, science prevailed.
They DO look like their namesakes, after all! ;)


  This is a list of nearly all current dinosaur etyomologies and their
meanings. Ben Creisler is the compiler, a student of classical languages, and
the more recent species have received more detailed information than the bulk.

<ps. I couldn't find what Futalongkosauri means.>

  I was listing a bunch of recent names which people seldom see that have
obscure spelling structure. The "Futalongko" name is a nomen nudum so far for a
Neuquén sauropod (yes, another one), whereas *Ekrixinatosaurus* is a veritable
mouthful! (http://dino.lm.com/images/display.php?id=2712). Some names just
don't lend themselves to Roman typography very well...


Jaime A. Headden

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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