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For a book (let's say on cryptozoology) I need to come up with a scientific name for bigfoot. I'm thinking of using a literal translation of bigfoot for the genus. As typical in scientific naming, the genus will be followed by species and subspecies but there will be several different ones of them, so that's not topic of this question.

A long time ago I came up with Magnapede (e.g. Magnapede homo universitas) but I think the declination is off. Someone gave this a try at DeviantArt and came up with magnipus (i.e. Sasquatch magnipus) but that seems off since foot should be pes.

I'm quite sure the second part should be -pes which is the nominative of foot. I guess both Magna- and Magnus- (feminine/masculine nominative of big) would work for the first part.

So Magnapes or Magnuspes. Does that make sense? Other ideas are welcome too! I don't know any latin, so correct me if any of this is wrong.

bonus points for a cool name for biosphere when viewed as a species of bigfoot. I came up with Magnapes planeta vivus so far.

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  • I wonder if what you want is a Latin augmentative rather than a compound word.
    – Adam
    Nov 1 '21 at 0:10
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    Macropus? Oh, it's already taken...
    – Trang Oul
    Nov 1 '21 at 18:35
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Latin speakers didn't form compounds as often as Greek speakers, but when they did, the usual method was to use -i- as a linking vowel after the stem of the first element, as in magniloquentia "grand language". (Or no linking vowel when the second element starts with a vowel.) Taxonomists have enthusiastically adopted this method of word formation, so you'll see a lot of compounds of this type in scientific names.

The way to form a compound meaning "large foot(ed)" in Latin would therefore be magnipes, which appears to be in use already as a specific name, but maybe not as a genus name.

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  • I didn't consider that there should be a connecting vowel but it makes total sense. I would go with -o- though as suggested on p.760 (n19) of The International Code on Phytosociological Nomenclature geobotany.org/library/pubs/WeberHE2000_jvs_739-768.pdf
    – Joooeey
    Nov 1 '21 at 9:52
  • The book uses 'bigfoot' as metaphor. It's actually about sociology in the broadest sense, including phytosociology.
    – Joooeey
    Nov 1 '21 at 9:53
  • @Joooeey: Is that the same as this: geobotany.uaf.edu/library/pubs/WeberHE2000_jvs_739-768.pdf? I'm getting a certificate error from the site at your link. That list seems to be designed to help find out which forms of a name to use if you don't know any Greek or Latin. But if you do know Greek or Latin, it's generally correct and simpler to follow the rule that Latin stems take -i- after them, Greek stems take -o-.
    – Asteroides
    Nov 1 '21 at 12:54
  • @Joooeey: (Also, magnus/magna/magnum does not end in n as a whole word, so I think the relevant part of that table is instead "73 (a) -us, (b) -(o)-, (c) -i, (d) -o (a) Scleranthus, (b) Scleranth(o)-, (c) Scleranthi, (d) Sclerantho Most names ending in -us.") This also recommends the connecting vowel -o-, but the actual in linguistic terms for using -o- here is because the name Scleranthus is borrowed from Greek (σκληρός + ἄνθος)
    – Asteroides
    Nov 1 '21 at 12:57
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    @Joooeey: It looks like phytosociologists may have standardized the connecting vowel in some kinds of technical terms as -o- for nouns of the first and second declension whether from Latin or Greek, probably since such a large proportion of names in this field are Greek borrowings rather than originally Latin words. But regardless, to a Latinist's eye, the Greek connecting vowel -o- will look worse than -i- in a regular Latin compound word composed of two purely Latin stems.
    – Asteroides
    Nov 1 '21 at 13:12
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It's better to compound with Geek. Think of all the dinosaur names. I'd offer:

Megalopus obscurus

The species name obscurus has a wide latitude of meaning all centered around 'shadowy', including 'hidden [like in the shadows]', 'unknown', and 'secret'.

As @Asteroides mentioned, though, that genus is already taken by a species of beetle.

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    Given that a lot of bigfoot lore tends to imply that they are a related species of hominid, you might make the "megalopus" the species name instead, so they'd be "Homo megalopus" or something to that effect. Nov 1 '21 at 14:56
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I don't know that it's Latin, but we do already have the word Gigantopithecus as well as (this one is mentioned as Latin & Greek) Australopithecus - which both refer to bigfoot like creatures.

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