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Thread: Who decided how to name organisms?

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    Who decided how to name organisms?

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    Carolus Linnaeus (or Carl von Linné) (May 23, 1707 - January 10, 1778) was a Swedish scientist who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of taxonomy. He is considered one of the father of modern ecology (see History of ecology).

    He was born at Stenbrohult, in the province of Smalandia in southern Sweden. As a boy Linnaeus was to be groomed for life as a churchman, as his father and maternal grandfather were, but he showed little enthusiasm for the profession. His interest in Botany, though, impressed a physician from his town and he was sent to study at Lund University, transferring to Uppsala University after one a year.

    During this time Linnaeus became convinced that in the stamens and pistils of flowers lay the basis for the classification of plants, and he wrote a short work on the subject that earned him the position of adjunct professor. In 1732 the Academy of Sciences at Uppsala financed his expedition to explore Laplandia, then virtually unknown. The result of this was the Flora Laponica published in 1737.



    Thereafter Linnaeus moved to the continent. While in the Netherlands he met Jan Frederik Gronovius and showed him a draft of his work on taxonomy, the Systema Naturae. In it, the unwieldy descriptions used previously - physalis amno ramosissime ramis angulosis glabris foliis dentoserratis - were replaced by the concise and now familiar genus-species names - Physalis angulata - and higher taxa were constructed in a simple and orderly manner. Although this system, binomial nomenclature, was developed by the Bauhin brothers, Linnaeus may be said to have popularized it.

    Linnaeus named taxa in ways that personally struck him as common-sensical; for example, human beings are Homo sapiens "wise man", but he also described a second human species, Homo troglodytes (or Homo nocturnus - "cave-dwelling man" or "nocturnal man"), by which he seems to have meant the only-recently described chimpanzee). The group "mammalia" are named for their mammary glands because one of the defining characteristics of mammals is that they nurse their young. (Of all the features distinguishing the mammals from other animals, Linnaeus may have picked this one because of his views on the importance of natural motherhood. He also campaigned against the practice of wet-nursing, declaring that even aristocratic women should be proud to nurse their own children.)



    In 1739 Linnaeus married Sara Morea, daughter of a physician. He ascended the chair of medicine at Uppsala two years later, soon exchanging it for the chair of Botany. He continued to work on his classifications, extending them to the kingdom of animals and the kingdom of minerals. The last strikes us as somewhat odd, but evolution was still a long time away - and indeed, the Lutheran Linnaeus would have been horrified by it - and so Linnaeus was only attempting a convenient way of categorizing the natural world. He was knighted in 1755, under his Swedish name, Carl von Linné.

    • Linnaeus' original botanical garden may still be seen in Uppsala.
    • He also originated the practice of using the ? - Mars and ? - Venus glyphs as the symbol for male and female.
    • Linnaeus was said to be a man of great social skills. Esaias Tegnér said about him that "he talked to peasants in the words of peasants and to the scholars he talked in Latin".
    • His picture can be found on the current Swedish 100-krona bank notes.
    • Linnaeus was one of the founders of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.


    This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Carolus Linnaeus
    Last edited by vinz; 13th Apr 2005 at 18:50.
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    Another article on similiar topic from GCKA, again, we have the permission to use the article direct. Would be good, if we could extract the important points. Of course, GCKA will still be credited.

    CLICK HERE
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    Some extract from this website

    The binomial system.
    For a long time scientists faced the problem that one species of plant or animal might have many different names according to which language you spoke (for instance the Maori name for kingfisher is kotare). You can imagine that this caused all sorts of problems when scientists got together to talk about their research. They might all be talking about the same plant but using different names, very confusing. Carl Linnaeus (a Swedish biologist) decided in 1758 that everybody should be using the same name to describe the same species and proposed a universal naming system for all creatures.

    This naming system is now known as "binomial nomenclature" (bi = two, nomen = name, calo = call, so it translates as "two-name name-calling"). It is quite simple really. Each species has a surname and a personal name. Just like you do. If you are called Jo Smith then Smith is your surname, and Jo is your personal name.

    Scientists call the family name the "generic name" or "genus" and it always has a capital letter as the first letter. The personal name is called the "specific name" and is always in entirely in lower case. Unlike European people names the family (generic) name comes first followed by the personal (specific) name. For instance the Latin name for the tree species karaka is Corynocarpus laevigatus (ps. as a rule we either italize or underline the scientific name so that you know that it is a species name). Corynocarpus is the family name, and there are at least another 4 species that have the same family name (just like your brothers and sisters would have the same surname). The specific name laevigatus is like your first name.


    Another site with good info
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    informative email exchange between Choy and fishbase :

    Heng Wah,

    Nowhere in FishBase is it mentioned that S. hexazona is a synonym of S.
    johorensis (or vice versa). it is mentioned that S. hexazona has been
    misidentified as S. johorensis, but that is all. Indian barbs are a little
    more problematic. Nobody really knows whether they are Puntius, Systomus,
    or something else altogether (what is commonly referred to as Puntius is
    actually several genera). As for cf. and aff., the former is used when you
    are not sure if the species you refer to is different from a described
    species: e.g. I use Hemibagrus cf. nemurus if I am not sure if the catfish I
    have is the same species as H. nemurus. I tell people of this uncertainty
    by using cf. Aff. is used when I am reasonably sure that the species is
    different. By using H. aff. nemurus, I am telling people that I have a
    species that is NOT H. nemurus, but is closest to it. The reason why we did
    not catch any Boraras is because we were not sampling the correct habitat.
    Boraras is essentially a swamp fish, and most of the habitats we sampled
    were fast-flowing streams. I have no doubt that it occurs there, just that
    we were not in the right kind of habitat. Our nets are very fine-meshed, so
    it is not a problem of equipment. If we can catch Sundasalanx with oour
    nets, there is no reason why we cannot catch Boraras (FYI, I have caught
    Boraras in other places using the exact same net).

    Heok Hee


    --
    Heok Hee Ng
    Hubbs Fellow
    Fish Division, Museum of Zoology
    University of Michigan
    1109 Geddes Avenue
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1079 http://www-personal.umich.edu/~heokheen/

    and do note that cf., aff., sp., spp. are not italicised
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    Hi Heng Wah,

    I'll try to answer your questions one at a time:

    First the issue of Systomus vs. Puntius. Systomus was resurrected as a
    valid genus by Walter Rainboth, who used it for small barbs with a
    serrated dorsal-fin spine, 2 or 4 barbels, and less than 12 gill rakers
    on the first gill arch. In contrast, Puntius would have a smooth
    dorsal spine, only 2 (never 4) barbels, and moret han 12 gill rakers on
    the first arch. So, by this definition, many of the barbs encountered
    in the aquarium trade are Systomus (S. tetrazona, S. binotatus, S.
    hexazona, S. partipentazona, S. johorensis, S. gemellus, and so on...).
    Of course, this scheme is not adhered to by all workers, so some
    references (notably those of Kottelat) still refer to these as Puntius.

    Next, the identity of the six-banded barb. The correct name should be
    S. hexazona. The six-banded barb has long been misidentified as
    Systomus (Puntius) johorensis. However, the name S. johorensis
    actually applies to the barb that is commonly identified as Systomus
    (Puntius) eugrammus (the striped barb), a much larger species. Part of
    the confusion lies in the fact that young S. johorensis have a barred
    pattern very similar to that of the six-banded barb (the vertical bars
    break up with age and become horizontal stripes instead). Therefore,
    FishBase is correct.

    As for the use of the FishBase data, it's very much a matter of who you
    choose to follow. To be on the safe side, you can use the latest
    entry, but that is very much one person's interpretation.

    Heok Hee
    人的一生﹐ 全靠奮斗﹐ 唯有奮斗﹐ 才能成功

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    Another important nomenclature is Latin name is always written in italic, i.e. "Corynocarpus laevigatus" and not "Corynocarpus laevigatus"

  8. #8

    Re: Who decided how to name organisms?

    It is quite simple really. Each species has a surname and a personal name. Just like you do. If you are called Jo Smith then Smith is your surname, and Jo is your personal name.

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