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RE: Pterosaur diversity (was: Re: Waimanu)

Quoting John Scanlon <riversleigh@outbackatisa.com.au>:

  We should be thankful that Makovicky named the taxon Leptoceratopidae,
first Latin-grammatically-correct ceratopsian "family" clade name to date.

Hmm... well, as the name Leptoceratops is formed entirely from Greek roots including 'ops' [face] (the stem of which is 'opsi'), Mackovicky has actually been the first to get it WRONG. When borrowed into Latin, the Greek word 'ops' would normally become 'opsis' (e.g. synopsis, borrowed by English via Latin), so I don't know why anyone has ever assumed the stem in ceratopsian names was '-op'.

It is *op-* 'face', from the same Indo-European root *H3ekw- as English *eye*, German *Auge*, Slavic *oko*, Latin *oculus*, and so on. *Op-si-s* contains an additional (Greek) abstract-noun suffix *-si-*.

Now if someone would get out there and name the genera *Ceratopsis*, *Protoceratopsis*, and *Leptoceratopsis*, on which the families Ceratopsidae, Protoceratopsidae, and Leptoceratopsidae could be based, we'd be in good shape.

Nick Pharris
Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan

"Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity."
    --Edwin H. Land