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What's the problem???


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Posted by chrish on January 10, 2003 at 10:57:58:

In Reply to: We can, but do we need to? posted by WW on January 10, 2003 at 08:20:48:

The need in ornithology only really came about with the rise in non-professional ornithologists (i.e. birdwatchers). Birders didn't want to have to learn the scientific names and wanted a standard set of common names they could rely on. So the AOU came in and supervised/standardized the common names. It works well.

With the extraordinary increase in non-professional herpetologists (hobbyists) over the last 20 years, I think the need is arising in our field as well.

What's the problem with having a standardized list of common names? I don't really understand the objections. If you don't want to use common names, don't. No one is mandating their use.

Most professional ornithologists still communicate using scientific names, but when they see a report of a Northern Beardless Tyrannulet from a particular location, they know exactly what taxon is being discussed. That would not be true if they had read a report of a Chicken Snake or Gopher Snake.

Right now we have a horrible mix of semi-standard names and colloquial names. If we could establish a set of standard names, we could improve this problem, making communication about herps more uniform.

Yes, I am aware that the same thing could be accomplished if everyone used scientific names, but that isn't going to happen. So why not come out with a formal list?

BTW - One of the flaws with using scientific names, of course, is that there is no "formal" list of accepted names - Charina myriolepis?
There is the ICZN,
1. but how many people pay attention to their positions?
2. they don't rule on all new taxonomic suggestions.





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