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Re: Dinosaurs Breathed Like Birds

Andrew Simpson (deathspresso@yahoo.com) wrote:

<The name should reflect how you would feel if one of them was actually after
you. How do you say Absolute Terror in Greek? Terror-saurus?
Savage-ravage-damage Raptor.>

  Aside from the innane use of "Ut@hraptor" instead of the taxon label (you
don't get to pick the names others have coined), using emotive descriptive
labels for behaviors we can't observe has been almost as argued over as using
silly names like *Ninjemys* (ninja turtle). Do we get to rename
*Daspletosaurus* (frightful lizard) because people don't feel frightened in
it's presence? It may have been the most passive tyrannosaur in existence. Does
it fill you with fright? If something is aweful, does it full you with awe?
Language is used for many purposes, including conveying an idea, or memorialize
a nickname, or to describe a joke. Examples of these are so old, there are
websites about unusual names including types of Japanese crustaceans named for
Godzilla (which are fairly big for their group). As mentioned before, from the
very beginning, names have been described for all forms of allusion,
descritpion, and jokes, so stating what "should" be is merely a personal
reflection on names which one _likes_.

  However, when you find a taxon that is unique, you are free to name it as you
wish, but history is full of funny and cute names like *Gollum*, so using one's
personal opinions on "pleasing" names is rather subjective and doesn't
neccessarily fulfill the function of taxonomy (labeling taxa for simplicity in
communication -- thus there is only one *Ninjemys*).


Jaime A. Headden

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

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