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Old 9th December 2009   #10 (permalink)
bewilderbeast
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Default Re: Scientific Nomenclature

Scientific names have a certain lyrical rhythm to them... Like : "Tyrano-saurus-rex". no one forgets that one, or most Dino names for that matter... though, usually, we only know half of it. I always have to break down the pronunciation to remember them and it works to the point where these strings of latin and greek words pop into my head and I don't always remember what animal it goes with them. Like a very short, Latin, song getting stuck in my head. The Latin I took in middle school doesn't hurt either. Knowing some of the meanings of the Latin root words helps give the names a little more meaning.

I think it's important to note, also, that scientific names, especially species and subspecies, are in a state of constant flux, and that, until the middle part of the 20th century, taxonomies WERE just as confusing and muddled as common names... and now again that genetic research is being done that can objectively and measurably differentiate between distinct species.

I have a catalog of herpetelogical specimens of the western United States from the California Academy of Sciences published in 1928 (many of the pages are still uncut) and it has huge lists of species that do not exist in modern taxonomy.

For instance, the genus Taricha, has about 12 different entries few of which have the genus name Taricha and several different spellings of species names depending on the scientist who had cataloged the specimen...
some of the species entries are as follows:
Triton torosus: the type specimen of the species taken by Eschscholtz in 1833
Triton tereticauda
Triton Ermani
Salamandra Beecheyi
Triton granulosa
Notophtalmus torosus
Taricha torosa
Taricha laevis
Diemyctylus torosa

As you can see, even scientists get confused... sorry for the novel...
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