[uf-discuss] Proposal: species

Andy Mabbett andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk
Sat Sep 23 07:37:58 PDT 2006

In message <4515378F.2010409 at garyjones.co.uk>, Gazza
<gazza at garyjones.co.uk> writes

>Andy Mabbett mumbled the following on 23/09/2006 12:52:
>> In message <4514F495.7040503 at garyjones.co.uk>, Gazza
>> <gazza at garyjones.co.uk> writes
>>>>> allowing/encouraging research of more esoteric or less frequently
>>>>> used/published data types (species, moon/mars geolocations) on the Web.
>>>>  Do you *really* think that species names are "esoteric"? <*boggle*>
>>> Under a definition of only being used or known by a small group of
>>> people, yes.
>>  And you think that "Blackbird", "poodle", "T Rex", "potato", "French
>> Marigold", "Wisteria", "E. Coli", "HIV", "Rubella" or "human being" are
>> only used by a small group of people?
>"Species names" tend to only be scientific, and therefore generally in

Absolute rubbish. "Crow" may be  generic name, but "Carrion Crow" is the
name of one species.

> The list you propose above would be considered vernacular names at

Nonsense. "T Rex" is "Tyrannosaurus rex"; "E. Coli" is "Escherichia
coli"; "HIV" is "Human immunodeficiency virus"; "Rubella " is "Rubella
virus". All are taxonomic (or scientific) names.

"Wisteria" is a taxonomic genus.

"Blackbird"; "poodle"; "potato"; "French Marigold" and "human being"
(arguments about Neanderthals not withstanding) are, indeed, vernacular,
but still refer to individual species.

People use the vernacular AND taxonomic names of species in everyday
speech and writing - just read or watch any populist gardening magazine
or television programme. In fact, I'll wager that they do so far more
than they use 8-digit geo-spatial references, but that doesn't stop us
using "geo".

>Considering that no agreed formal definition of "species" apparently
>exists[1] then

Of course there is, de facto, FOR TAXONOMIC PURPOSES. The fact that
there are some minor, alternative systems of classification in existence
is no more troubling than the fact that there are different ways of
conveying the location of a point on the planet Earth.

There is more than one schema for recording postal addresses or
someone's name  - and far less international standardisation than there
is for naming living things. Shall we therefore dump hCards?

>the usefulness of a supporting uF may be questionable.

Oh, that really is a joke. How on earth do you thing the scientific
community functions? Do you think that of someone asks a zoologist about
'Sturnus vulgaris', they throw their hands in the air, saying that such
a term has no useful meaning?

Andy Mabbett
                Say "NO!" to compulsory ID Cards:  <http://www.no2id.net/>

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