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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
225 South 700 East
St. George, UT 84770 USA
Phone: (435) 652-7758
Fax: (435) 656-4022
The way to a man's heart is through
-- old proverb
"The way to a man's heart is through
the fourth and fifth ribs."
-- Katchoo (and others)