Articles | Volume 26, issue 1
01 Apr 2007
 | 01 Apr 2007

Comments on the spelling of ‘archaeopyle’, the germination aperture in dinoflagellate cysts

Susanne Feist-Burkhardt


During editorial work for the Journal of Micropalaeontology, a discussion arose between authors, reviewers and editors on the correct spelling of a technical term in palynology: ‘archeopyle’ or ‘archaeopyle’, the germination aperture in dinoflagellate cysts. One opinion was that there is only one correct spelling, namely ‘archeopyle’, with a single ‘e’ in the middle of the word, irrespective of the use of British English or American English. The other opinion was that spelling of the word should follow the language used in the rest of the text – allowing for ‘archeopyle’ with ‘e’ in American English and ‘archaeopyle’ with ‘ae’ in British English. This Notebook illustrates the reasons for this controversy and argues for the alternative spellings of the word according to American or British English spelling used.


The term ‘archeopyle’ was introduced in 1961 by William R. Evitt in one of his seminal papers on the morphology of fossil dinoflagellates, in which he recognized that many organic microfossils, then called ‘hystrichospheres’, showed a germination opening and were actually of dinoflagellate affinity. As derivation of the word he gave the following information: ‘... the presence of this opening (pyle – gate, orifice) in fossil (archeo – ancient) dinoflagellates ...’ (Evitt, 1961, p. 389). Since then, the term has become accepted and used widely by palaeontologists and biologists alike. Definitions and descriptions of the word itself and derivative terms can be looked up in the latest glossary of terminology by Williams et al. (2000). . . .