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Re: [dinosaur] Puzzles and Perils of the Prefix Eu "Good": from Eubontes to Euarchontaglires

Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:

> *Euskelesaurus* Huxley, 1867 "good-legged reptile" (*eu*- + Greek *-skeles*
> "-legged" from *skelos* "leg*)
> "An animal the thigh-bone of which approaches three feet in length, may be
> fitly said to have 'good legs,' whence I propose the generic name of
> *Euskelesaurus* for this new African reptile..."

As you would know, Huxley's original spelling (_Euskelesaurus_) was
later emended to _Euskelosaurus_ by Huene, and it's Huene's spelling
that has stuck.

> The Euornithes Muddle
> Aves
> Euornithes Stejneger, 1885 "typical birds"
> "With the above name I have designated the rest of the existing birds. This
> superorder, therefore, embraces all living birds except the Dromaeognathae
> [ratites] and the penguins." (pg. 64)

Penguins were granted their own group/'superorder', named Impennae
("featherless") - now largely abandoned (thankfully).

> Confusingly, the name Euornithes has been reused, or, more accurately,
> reintroduced with different definitions by a number of later authors who
> were apparently unaware of earlier citations.

These days there is a near-universal tendency to use Ornithuromorpha
rather than Euornithes as the name for the group that includes the
avian crown group and their stemward relatives, in opposition to
Enantiornithes (i.e., Ornithothoraces = Euornithes + Enantiornithes).
I actually preferred Euornithes to Ornithuromorpha, but Euornithes
seems to have been effectively abandoned, perhaps because of its
muddled history.  Then again, other groups named in the 1800's also
have convoluted taxonomic histories (e.g., Ornithurae, Carinatae,
Neornithes), with their current phylogenetic definitions and
compositions departing widely from their earlier usages.  So there's
no objective reason to discard Euornithes; but it does appear to be a
lost cause.

Archaeornithes (which was erected at the same time as Neornithes) has
also been abandoned, in this case due to redundancy (as a 'subclass'
its sole member was _Archaeopteryx_), which makes sense in a cladistic
universe.  However, the name Archaeornithes could conceivably be
revived for an Archaeopterygidae-Jeholornithidae clade, should the
latter (which has popped up in a few topologies) gain any traction in
future analyses.

Nice work Ben.  Your post filled in some gaps in my knowledge -
including the true derivations of _Eunotosaurus_, Lipotyphla, and
_Eucritta_ among others.