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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:email@example.com