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Posts Tagged ‘Latin’

(Replacing Pantydraco)

Via this talk about dinosaurs, we learn of the radiolarian Rectotormentum fornicatum, named, of course, from the Latin words “rectus”, meaning “correct, in good order”; “tormentum”, meaning “missile stone”; and “fornicatus”, meaning “arched, vaulted”.

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Have I accumulated enough taxonomy-related links for another roundup? Am I too exhausted/lazy from field work to do any proper blogging? Yes and yes.

First, and most importantly, the NCSU Insect Museum has announced the winners of its awesome annual Hexapod Haiku contest. My favourite among the runners-up:

all the insects
I’ve killed–waiting
in the other world

The new species in this instalment are a UV-reflecting scorpion, a monstrous fossil that may or may not be called Godzillus, and a shockingly purple crab.

A short collection of goofy scientific names. I don’t understand why so few people want to do taxonomy. Think of the power you’d have, naming tiny primitive insects after Tolkien characters!

Random, related thought: describing a new species is like developing a DnD character. Except that you’ve lost your set of dice and your Player’s Handbook. (Actually, I think someone’s already indirectly made this parallel, viz. the Phylo, formerly Phylomon, card game.)

I’ve saved the best for last. This list of dinosaurs that “aren’t what they were” is frakking great. When I was just starting to be obsessed with dinosaurs, the idea that they were warm-blooded and related to birds was just becoming widely accepted. My childhood collection of dinosaur books was thus a mixture of those with illustrations of plodding stupid heavy-tailed brutes and those with lean and nimble, even graceful, beasts. But by the time I was in high school, things had changed even more: people had found fossil feathers. A lot of them. Now virtually every theropod (the predatory dinosaurs from which birds evolved), and even many non-theropods, is illustrated with at least a proto-feathery covering. The quill-like things on Psittacosaurus and Triceratops are pretty wicked. (A funny thing to note is that the Jurassic Park movies have always tended to be ahead of the mainstream idea of dinosaurs, first with the warm-bloodedness, then with the feathers and badass Spinosaurus.)

Okay, one more link, because the last one reminded me of it: T. rex trying, my favourite thing on the internet these days.

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Pantydraco.

Oh of course, “Panty” like the Welsh quarry. I believe you. (“I’ll find a dragon in *your* quarry, if you know what I mean.”)

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…of the first of this year’s tree frog cohort leaving the water, a poetry translation break.

senem in lacus

ranunculus saltabat—

sonitus aquae!

I’m being a bit self-referential here, because this is my (rather hasty) Latin translation of a classic haiku, suggested by Wickedday‘s delightful and wistful poem, inspired by my original frog post.

I was hoping to arrange matters such that the haiku would also scan as a hexameter, but that didn’t work. (Anyone who can improve on this, or who has corrections, please chime in!)

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For those of you who didn’t spend your entire childhoods alternately wanting to be a palaeontologist and wishing you were a dinosaur, ceratopsians are large, typically quadrupedal herbivores with bony frills extending from the backs of their skulls and, often, various spikes, bumps, or horns on their heads (“ceratops”, a traditional part of many names in this taxon, means, roughly, horned-face in Greek). Think Triceratops. Their elaborate headgear could be defensive or a sexual ornament; probably a bit of both.

I was looking through this list of dinosaurs described in 2010 and noticed that many of the new ceratopsians had wickedly badass names. Hence this post, which will feature genera both new and old. (more…)

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I spent a few hours today working on a post about dinosaur—specifically, ceratopsian—names that amuse me. The process was making me contemplate writing another, more general, post about naming dinosaurs. (There’s all sorts of interesting patterns, like “unofficial” suffixes and the recent emergence of latinized Chinese names.) Then I checked BoingBoing and found a link to this blog post which literally does exactly what I was thinking of doing but better than I ever could! So go read it! (Except don’t read the part about ceratopsians. Read mine instead when I post it next week or so. :P)

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Yes, you read that right.

There’s an entire genus of fungus called Phallus. The common name is stinkhorn (insert giggle here) and species include such gems as:

  • P. drewesii, P. calongei, P. ravenelii, and P. hadriani, all named after mycologists – i.e. the names translate as Drewes’, Calonge’s, Ravenel’s,  and Hadrian’s respective phalluses
  • the type species P. impudicus (impudicus translates to “shameless” or “unchaste”)
  • P. minusculus, P. pygmaeus, P. tenuis, and P. tenuissimus, which don’t require any knowledge of Latin to translate

There is a shocking lack of names like “P. maximus“, “P. longissimus“, or “P. grandis“.

But wait, there’s more! There’s a genus of plants in the family Araceae (which includes calla lilies, philodendron, and duckweed) called Amorphophallus. I leave you to peruse and giggle at the list of species on your own.

There is also a shocking lack of genera named after female genitalia. (There is a snail called Volva, but the etymology is a bit unclear.) Taxonomists, take note.

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