23 October 2014
Usually when a paleontologist is immortalized in the name of some taxon it is as part of the specific epithet. Once in a while paleontologists are remembered at the generic level (e.g. Drinker, Othnielia, Bennettazhia) or animals are named after family members (e.g. Timimus, Leaellynosaura). Gasparinisaura falls into the former category, being named after Zulma Brandoni de Gasparini, one of the premier female paleontologists of South America. Does being named after the second woman to chair the Paleontological Association of Argentina make the dinosaur famous all on its own? How well known, in North America, is Zulma Brandoni de Gasparini honestly? Regardless, there is a rather tiny South American dinosaur named after her and it is famous because it is tiny, named after a famous paleontologist, was on television, and was even featured in a dinosaur "how to draw" book. It is a rather wonderful little dinosaur and well known all over. Gasparinisaura has also introduced a renowned and well rooted Argentinian paleontologist to people unfamiliar with her career.