ancestor = "descendant"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Mar 1 20:00:52 UTC 2007

At 9:30 AM -0800 3/1/07, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>Observe how the presence of "descended" and a normal "ancestor"
>makes no difference:
>   2007 Christopher A. Brochu, John Long, Colin McHenry, et al.
>_Dinosaurs_  (rev. ed.) (S.F.: Fog City Press) 105 (caption): Birds
>are the living ancestors of the dinosaurs that became extinct at the
>end of the Cretaceous period. Alligators and crocodiles are not
>directly descended from the dinosaurs, but they share a common
>ancestor through the archosaurs.
>   No dinosaur ever descended from birds. Quite the contrary.
>   As all the authors but one hold Ph.Ds,  the caption was presumably
>written by an unnamed picture editor. Explaining the ex. as a "mere"
>lapsus begs the question. Why this particular lapsus?
>   The book otherwise appears to be impeccably proof-read.
Someone must have substituted an "ancestor" with a "descendant".  Or
vice versa.  Hard to imagine a PhD doing so, let alone a native


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