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Re: Question of Spanish dinosaur terminology


The phrases "pies posteriores" or "patas posteriores" would work.

I would use "posterior" instead of "trasera" when describing anatomy,
especially if the article is more formal. "Trasera" is more like "the
back of" or "the rear" (e.g., 'the back of my mind', 'the back door',
'rear wheels'). Your meaning would definitely get across, but in
bipedal animals where "front" and "rear" aren't exactly in front/back
of each other, "posterior" is a better way to go. A good way to say
hindlimbs would be "extremidades posteriores".

The forelimb is easy in birds; "alas" means 'wings', or you could say
"extremidades anteriores" and it would be just as correct for birds or
dinosaurs. I have seen the phrase "pata delantera" (front paw/limb)
used for some animals that walk on all fours, but not in birds.

The word "pata" can have different meanings depending on the context.
It translates loosely as "paw" and as such is appropriate only for
animals, not humans (except: it can be used affectionately to refer to
the feet of small children). Sometimes it refers to the leg from the
knee down, sometimes the whole leg, and sometimes just the foot, but
usually just the foot. For birds I've seen "patas" refer to the part
of the leg from the tarsometatarsus on down (anything not covered in
feathers) as well as just the part of the foot distal to the TMT, but
this may be because the ankle of birds is so different than in other

"Pata" is also used figuratively in a bunch of phrases. Some involve
animals (which is why I bring it up), and depending on the country
you're in, and the context, they can have several meanings. For
example,"patas de cabra" is a Puerto Rican and Peruvian term for
"crowbar", but in Mexico and some parts of Spain, the same phrase
means something is a sign of or that brings bad luck, and in other
parts of Spain, it means "kickstand" (like for a bike or motorcycle).
Another common phrase is "tiene patas de perro" meaning that a likes
to travel (has "itchy feet").

Is this for a journal article or something more casual, like for a
magazine or talk?

Hope this is helpful,

Sarah Werning
reply to: swerning@berkeley.edu
Museum of Paleontology and Department of Integrative Biology
University of California, Berkeley
1101 Valley Life Sciences Building
Berkeley, CA 94720-4780

On 6/15/07, Roberto Takata <rmtakata@gmail.com> wrote:
Maybe, "pies". "pies del pajaro".


Roberto Takata

On 6/15/07, James Farlow <farlow@ipfw.edu> wrote:
> If I want to refer to the pes (hindfoot) of a dinosaur or bird in Spanish, 
what is the best word to use?
> I've come up with pata trasera, but I'll bet there's a better word or phrase 
than that.
> Thanks for any help