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Re: Species name etymology
These are my interpretations, so take them for that rather than points of
undeniable fact, if you would.
Steve Walsh (email@example.com) wrote:
<AVIMIMUS portentosus - Possibly "portentous" = of monumental significance,
because Avimimus was such an important find>
While our word "portent" and its derivatives come from this Latin root, the
meaning Kurzanov ascribes to the word, while bearing a similarity to the Latin,
is more equivalent to "miraculous," as this animal was so clearly avian-like
and so clearly seemed to clinch the relationship between dinosaurs and birds
for the late Kurzanov. He spent more time of all of his discoveries and
descriptions on the few fossil remains he had available to him which he named
*Avimimus* ? as a bird, by the way ? and spent a good deal of time elaborating
on his expertise in biology to describe the animal and its habits, later
followed in this experience by the late Ostrom on *Deinonychus* (he even made
similar confusions on the pelvis as Ostrom, but corrected himself). The word he
used therefore was to capture the excitement of this monumental discovery and
its implications, but it did not become the "miracle" he might have forseen ?
it was TOO avian-looking it, and had been confused AS a bird without connection
<CARNOTAURUS sastrei ?>
For Ángel Sastre, a physician, who owned the land on which the type was
<COELOPHYSIS bauri - In honor of Georg Herman Baur, who was at one time Marsh's
collector, but later wrote articles on Marsh's inaccurate illustrations -
Yes, but as David wrote, it would be "Hermann," who while originally on the
payroll of Marsh after coming over from Germany from meeting the man on his
Tour, was forced to labor as a fieldhand and later would not be given access to
any fossils from Marsh save those without backbones. Marsh's stingy pay
schedule, jealousy, and paranoia earned him more enemies than Cope ever drummed
up, and Cope eventually managed to get Baur ro work for him (and work on other
fossils than inverts), and it was Baur who found the original quarry and
syntype series Cope named in his honor, *Coelurus bauri*, then later
<DRYOSAURUS altus - Altus (Latin) = "high" or "deep" - why?>
It was taller than the other hypsilophodonts, certainly, but the name is an
allusion to its tall teeth, which resembled oak leaves. "Tall oak[-toothed]
lizard." I think.
Point of mention: One of the abstracts that will be presented at this year's
_SVP_ will offer data from Horner's team on the histological evidence for the
age of specimens of *Dryosaurus altus* from the Morrison, and argue no specimen
recovered was fully mature, meaning there were larger, older, unrecovered
animals. So it was "taller," too.
<EDMONTONIA longiceps - Longus (Latin) = "long" and -ceps - why?>
"Long-faced" or "long-headed" as it's skull was relatively more attentuated
and thinner in aspect than other known ankylosaurian skulls, earning it
exceptionality by difference.
<GALLIMIMUS bullatus - Bhel = "to inflate or swell", referring to the inflated
braincase area of the skull - correct?>
A _bulla_ is a inflated metal sphere worn on a torque or choker around the
neck. It's shape is inferred due to the parabasisphenoid "inflated" into a
capsule with an opening posteriorly that likely connected with ventral cranial
<ORNITHOLESTES hermanni - Herman?>
Not the same Hermann as above, but for Adam Hermann, who contributed to paleo
for Osborn and was the chief preparator at the AMNH at the time (and therefore
likely of this and many other specimens).
<STRUTHIOMIMUS altus - Altus (Latin) = "high" or "deep" - why?>
"High," or "tall" in this case, but not for the same reasons as above, as
this animal has no teeth, but was particularly large and was based, at the
time, on the most complete ornithomimid skeleton to date.
<TROODON formosus - Forma (Latin) = "shape", perhaps referring to the form of
the teeth - correct?>
The name is given as "beautiful," because of the nearly perfect preservation
of the tooth and its denticles, compared to Leidy's other descriptions of the
Fort Union fossils he acquired. In full, "beautiful cutting tooth."
Jaime A. Headden
"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)
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