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RE: What's the word for this specialty in paleontology?
Quoting John Scanlon <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
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
Well, actually, this does come from a Classical Greek source,
*eksaleiphein* 'to plaster over, wipe out, obliterate'. *Eksaleipsis*
would then be 'the act of wiping out, obliteration', which would indeed
yield "exaleipsology" (or "exalipsology", since Greek ei is commonly
rendered with a long i in Latin). The study of ancient extinctions
would be "pal(a)e(o)exal(e)ipsology", which would be quite a mouthful,
no matter which of the vowels you chose to include.
Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan
"Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity."
--Edwin H. Land