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RE: New Mesozoic bird papers (advance publication)

Brad McFeeters wrote:

>Fortunately for them, "microraptor" works as the vernacular form of the higher 
taxon Microraptoria.  It's not fundamentally worse than saying "a dinosaur" or 
"a pterosaur," we're just not used to seeing it. 

    Actually, it is fundamentally worse -- as a shorthand it's vague.  For the 
moment, there might only be a Microraptoria, but what about when there's a 
Microraptoridae?  "Microraptor" could be used as shorthand for either.  To 
avoid confusion, it should always be "microraptorian" and "microraptorid."  
Similarly, the term "titanosaur" could refer to Titanosauriformes, 
Titanosauria, Titanosauridae, etc. -- "titanosauriform," "titanosaurian," and 
"titanosaurid" are clearer and completely unambiguous; ditto for "maniraptoran" 
for "Maniraptora" (never "maniraptor")...and is it really so frikkin' hard to 
type a few extra letters?!?  

     'Course, we're kinda stuck with "dinosaur" for the public vernacular, but 
then again, the public couldn't tell you what is and isn't a dinosaur anyway...

Jerry D. Harris
Director of Paleontology
Dixie State College
Science Building
225 South 700 East
St. George, UT  84770   USA
Phone: (435) 652-7758
Fax: (435) 656-4022
E-mail: jharris@dixie.edu
 and     dinogami@gmail.com

The way to a man's heart is through
his stomach.

                   -- old proverb

"The way to a man's heart is through
the fourth and fifth ribs."

                   -- Katchoo (and others)