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RE: What's the word for this specialty in paleontology?
I also disagree with David M; there are perfectly good names for specialties
far narrower than anyone would ever confine themselves to, or even with no
real content at all. Consider Umberto Eco's 'Foucault's Pendulum' where are
defined such terms as tetrapyloctomy (the art of splitting a hair four ways)
and potiosection (slicing soup)...
Because the idea of 'extinction' in anything like the modern sense is
relatively young (Cuvier?) there is probably not a snappy, authentically
classical Greek word to use. But why not Modern? Going to
http://www.translatum.gr/ (only the first free online translation site I
found) and typing in 'extinction' gets a word I transliterate as 'exaleipse'
(extinction of a race = exaleipse phyles), so what you're looking for would
Before trying that, I was thinking about forms using 'thanatos' = death:
megathanatology, phylothanatology, zoothanatology, geothanatology...
Then there's also the traditional theological subject of eschatology (the
study of 'last things', from individual death to the end of the universe)
which could be used in such compounds as phyleschatology...
Dr John D. Scanlon
Riversleigh Fossil Centre, Outback at Isa
19 Marian Street / PO Box 1094
Mount Isa QLD 4825
Ph: 07 4749 1555
Fax: 07 4743 6296
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Patty Ralrick [mailto:email@example.com]
> Sent: Sunday, November 05, 2006 2:47 AM
> To: DINOSAUR@usc.edu
> Subject: RE: What's the word for this specialty in paleontology?
> David Marjanovic wrote:
> "No, because nobody has an opportunity to specialize that narrowly. You
> get narrower than "vertebrate paleontologist", at least at a university or
> My boyfriend (Darren Tanke of the Royal Tyrrell Museum) begs to differ.
> Paleopathologists study injury and disease in dinosaurs.
> study ancient footprints. Dr. Francois Therrien of the Tyrrell has
> "paleoecologist" on his door. I'm sure there are more, but it's early and
> the brain isn't working properly yet.
> As for a paleo who studies extinctions only - haven't heard a term for
> one. Sorry.
> Have fun!
> Patty Ralrick
> Interdisciplinary Graduate Program
> University of Calgary
> Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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