Taxonomy for dummies

Binomials use Greek, it’s not all Latin.

I find our naming really interesting.

Pseudonaja textilis, has a bit of Greek; a bit of Sanscrit - naja for snake, now equated
with cobra (it stands up and spreads a hood when alarmed); and a bit of Latin. So Pseudonaja
textilis = false (Gk) cobra (Sanscrit) with a woven skin (Lat, textile, weave).

Casuarina - from Malay Kasuari, transliterating as cassowary. Casuarina leaves look like cassowary feathers. Well, a bit.

3 Likes

Hi.
For other reasons I just happen to have made something that might interest you.

At:
tinyurl.com/ArkRTExpGarry

open:
00Index.pdf

and find:
The following are about how animals and plants are classified, so you can work out what’s related to what - evolutionary trees.
12TetrapodLegBones.pdf Similarities and differences. Interesting in itself, but also a lead-in to classification systems.
13Phylogeny+Linnaean.pdf Two different classification systems, each with pros & cons.
14LegumeTaxonomy.pdf A case study in Linnaean classification.
15LatinLessons-LinnaeanBinomialNaming.pdf A look at some quirky naming strategies.

re: your question about learning latin, I have two books:
Jaeger, E. J. “A source-book of Biological Names and Terms”, 3rd Ed, 1959, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, England Library of Congress Card No. 55-8867
-Heavy going, but very comprehensive.
Perrin, D. “Dictionary of Botanical Names” 2nd Ed, 2018, JT Press, Queensland, Australia ISBN-978-0-6483587-0-1
-Cute, written for veg, can be helpful for animal names as well.

The first I had recommended to me, and I found it from some bookseller on the web. I refer to both occasionally, and I also Google: ‘ etymology’

1 Like

thanks for the links, the pdfs all seem very useful, but it isn’t a link, which makes it harder for me to find :sweat_smile:

My taxon of interest is mostly Aves, but I have a general interest in the animal kingdom.

p.s
sorry for the late reply

2 Likes

A friend passed along this link to a BBC audio recording which some might find interesting:
“The Etymology of Entomology” with Dr. George McGavin (28 minutes)
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/b01r4xw5

2 Likes