Message 2002-08-0004: Re: "Last modified on July 1, 2002"

Wed, 14 Aug 2002 13:42:43 -0500

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Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 13:42:43 -0500
From: "Jonathan R. Wagner" <>
To: David Marjanovic <>, PhyloCode mailing list <>
Subject: Re: "Last modified on July 1, 2002"

David Marjanovic wrote (quoting me):

> > Well, for one thing, the PhyloCode does not dictate the use of "proper"
> > Latin or Greek...
> I said "allow". :-)
Why should we "allow" the wholesale alteration (not just re-spelling mind
you, "Ceratopian" has one fewer syllables...) of pre-existing taxon names
when it isn't required? To suite someone's concept of "correct
Latinization?" Is that really worth it?

Note that we *could* provide for "accepted alternate spellings" based on
"correct" grammar. I see this being an impediment to access to the
literature, but not so much as to be unthinkable.

> Yes. Our chief zoologist, Prof. L. Salvini-Plawen, doesn't like it. In a
> lecture he even called that "a compromise to the ignorant Americans"...

I will do us all the favor of not putting in print what I think of this sort
of statement, or the sort of mind that produced it.

> It hurts to read *Bellusaurus* (from bellus = pretty), *Lurdusaurus* and

I can recommend several effective over-the-counter analgesic medications to
ease your suffering.

> >I know of not one single student of the CeratopSia who
> > uses the "proper" version of the name. In fact, I have heard of only a
> > group of professional palaeontologists who prefer the "proper" term.
> > Considering that the PROFESSIONAL literature [...] has, until very
> > universally used the "improper" form, [...]
> Most of it. Not e. g. Gregory Paul, George Olshevsky, Tracy Ford.

Not to seem combative, but the latter two authors, both of whom I am
particularly fond of, might not fit a strict definition of the term
"professional." Ford has recently (within the past couple of years) begun
publishing in professional venues. Greogory Paul *has* published in
professional journals for a number of years... the title of his latest paper
dealing with the taxon in question is: "Forelimb posture in neoceratopsian
[NOTE SPELLING] dinosaurs: implications for gait and locomotion." I'm afraid
I must therefore disagree with your interpretation.

> > Or do we wish to forever run around correcting our elders on minutiae?
> Or do we wish to live forever with their errors -- how small they are is
> obviously very subjective -- and get a sour taste in the mouth every time
> see them?

>From my brief experience in academia, if this is the greatest professional
or personal trauma you suffer for your science, count yourself lucky.

Anyway, that's my take on the issue, for what it's worth.


Jon Wagner


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