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



 In the microbial literature, all authors have to provide an explicit
 etymology for their new name, plus a recommended pronunciation. The
 etymology is checked by one of the reviewers. I think this should
 be standard practise for all new genus and species names - including
 paleontological ones.

An etymology has to be given for every name governed by the ICZN (though it hasn't always been like that -- hence discussions over what, say, *Aublysodon* was intended to mean).

In papers I've seen, the etymology is often correct as far as the meaning is concerned, but very often Greek roots are called "Latin" or vice versa, even when you can tell which language it's from by just looking at it.*

Pronunciation guides (would) run into problems of which sound-to-spelling correspondences are assumed: that of the original language (many names combine different languages, the pronunciations of ancient languages aren't trivial to reconstruct, and in some cases few people in the world can pronounce any particular sound or sequence of sounds)? That of English (which nobody else will go along with, except when speaking English)?

* V, f: only Latin. Ph, th, y, eu: only Greek. Ch: almost only Greek.

> Just tack on a "saurus" or some such and everybody will think it is
> neat and scien-cy except maybe someone who speaks the obscure
> language.

 Megapnosaurus (the artist formerly known as Syntarsus) certainly
 embodies that idea.

 Entomologists have a much less subtle sense of humour though (*Colon
 rectum*, *Agra vation*, *Aha ha*).

*Megapnosaurus* _was_ named by entomologists, "big dead lizard" _was_ intended as humour (we had one of the authors explain this here on the DML in 2001), and it's not subtle at all.

(And, again, it should have been Megalapnoosaurus.)