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Re: Sauropodz r kewl WAS: silly conversation on 2012 US presidential race



On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 9:33 AM,  <tyazbeck@comcast.net> wrote:
> It seems the rules for naming are getting lax...Can't somebody take the time 
> to come up with a name that WORKS? I still think using the Greek+Latin works 
> best.

The rules are basically the same as they've always been. The changes
are not due to changes in the rules themselves, but other factors.

There are a few issues here:

1) The so-called "classical" European languages (Latin, Greek) aren't
taught as widely any more. (Everyone here who's taken a class in one
of them, raise your hand. How about both?) And these languages are
pretty complex, grammatically -- look at the increasing numbers of
malformed names (which are still valid by ICZN rules). When it comes
to a choice between learning a dead, grammatically complex language or
devoting that time to learning science, a lot of students choose the
latter. I'm not sure we can blame them.

2) Science is more and more a global endeavor rather than a European endeavor.

3) The sheer number of new taxa being discovered is overwhelming. We
stand the real risk of actually *running out* of Greek/Latin
combinations. (Think of all the times a dinosaur is give a Greek or
Latin name only for paleontologists to belatedly realize the same name
was already used for some other animal, usually an arthropod). We need
other languages if the system is going to be sustainable. (Well, that
or dinosaur paleontologists could stop putting every new species in
its own genus, already!)

#2 and #3 are actually positive developments. #1 is perhaps
regrettable, but certainly understandable.
-- 
T. Michael Keesey
http://tmkeesey.net/