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Re: lay person



At 03:42 AM 9/1/97 -0400, you wrote:
>I am aware of very few animals who have no common names.  could you  list a
>few for me (let's not use the obvious ones such as the tyrannosaurus or the
>boa).  I'd be willing to bet that most animals are called by common names,
>and these do differ in locations, that's why we have the scientific names, to
>keep it all straight.

There are two categories of such animals.  First are those whose scientific
name was originally a common name, or at least a Latin or Greek tag in use
before Linnaeus developed the binomial system.  Examples: alligator,
hippopotamus, gorilla, lynx, addax, rhinoceros - plus examples in which the
scientific name and the English common name share the same root, eg.
Rattus/rat, Giraffa/giraffe, Okapia/okapi, Panthera/panther,
Chamaeleo/chameleon, Crocodylus/crocodile.  A lot of plants fit this too:
Iris, gladiolus, freesia, etc.

In the second category are animals that had no common name in English until
their scientific description, and therefore picked up the scientific name
as a common name.  I can think of a number of birds in this category: eg.
trogon, cisticola, prinia, cutia, cochoa, pitta, jacana (though in some of
these cases the scientific name is taken from a common name in some other
language - "Jacana" is of Brazilian origin, for example).
--
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          mailto:ornstn@inforamp.net