First fossil lungs found in dinosaur era bird


Great article, Patrick. Not only is it amazing for what it explained about the lungs of such ancient creatures, it told me about fossilized eggs, hearts, and other anatomy unknown to me. What “lucky” finds for paleontologists.

As a linguist, I couldn’t help but notice the descriptive species name: Archaeorhynchus spathula. It is often fun to break down the Greek morphemes:

archaeo: ancient, olden
rhynchus: beak, snout, nose
spathula: Obviously, this reminds us of spatula in English and means “paddle” or “spoon”.

So this ancient creature is basically being called “old spoon beak” or “ancient paddle snout”.

It reminds me of Polyodon spathula, meaning “many-toothed paddle snout”, aka the American paddlefish.

In my college days, at least some Classical Studies departments had a Greek and Latin morphemes course (usually just 1 credit hour) for pre-med students and any other science majors who understood the value of what used to be learned in elementary school Greek and Latin courses. I can’t imagine learning anatomy without first mastering such morphemes. (I wonder at what point in @swamidass’ education that he first crammed long lists of such morphemes.)