A couple of my nature loving friends and I were having a good discussion on name choices and changes.
Some name changes (scientific and common) are as a result of DNA testing and this makes perfect sense. The new name is fitting.
However, there are a couple of name changes that have caught our attention and frankly make little sense.
Example: California’s native shrub, the Sticky Monkeyflower. The name is descriptive and makes perfect sense. The Bush is sticky and is in the Monkeyflower family. It’s common name has now been changed to Orange Bush Monkeyflower.
Much like it’s neighbor, the Blue Eyed Grass, this name makes little sense at all, many of my plant loving buddies are regularly amused by the name. It is not a grass, does not have a blue “eye”
The new name for the Sticky Monkeyflower runs along the same head scratching rails as the Blue Eyed Grass, The bush is not orange, the flower is, and why change the name when the one it had was much better?
Is it just to get ones name on a paper in a world where things do not often change?
Let’s add the Ridgway’s Rail, a local marsh bird whose previous name Clapper Rail not only have a nod to its vocalizations but to the Native people’s who lived as its neighbor for centuries.
NOW the Ridgway’s Rail has been given yet a longer, more specific and equally as frustrating name. Some Clapper Rails (a much better sounding name which is easier to say) are now San Francisco Bay Ridgway’s Rail.
Have scientists needed to separate the birds name into specific locales? Or are people just making things more complicated? Whatever happened to keeping it simple?
I get the need for specifics if they are needed, the question repeatedly posed is why make it so specific if it does not warrant such terminology.
To some in the discussion, this is just the start of people attempting to justify a change even when none is needed.
Will the Ridgway’s Rail become the San Diego Bay’s Ridgway’s Rail with a Los Angeles Ridgway’s Rail? Or will it be even more specific?
Then there is the beautiful Pacific Tree Frog, no, wait, Pacific Choral Frog, no…not good enough, let’s call it the Sierran Tree frog, keep the Pacific Tree Frog name for only some of the population but then and add the Lowland Tree Frog.
It gets to a point where some of my nature loving friends will only use the most generalized name that they can find in order to keep a hold of their sanity.
Why separate and rename some species but not others? When is name change really warranted and when does it become too much, especially when there is no difference in DNA at all?
Where does the cutting and pasting end? How much of it is necessary and how much is just the current members of the scientific community wanting to get noticed on paper for their contribution?
I find the discussion and questions compelling and wonder…what do you think about the whole thing.
Thanks in advance