I’m working on a short story narrated by a paleontologist. I know that when giving the genus and species name, the genus is supposed to be capitalized and both words are supposed to be italicized, like Triceratops horridus. When only the genus is specified, it is capitalized and italicized.
However, my story is a time travel story. There is no English name for most dinosaurs. So how would my hero refer to an animal he sees? He sees a triceratops? A Triceratops? A Triceratops? Webster’s Third International says the genus name is capitalized but the actual animal or its fossil is not. Does that sound right?
And what if there is more than one? Webster’s Third International says the plural is “triceratopses” but other sources say the “es” is optional. What about a herd? Is it a herd of triceratops or triceratopses?
Keep in mind that my narrator is not a layman.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.