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Re: Naming Things
G. Martinez said:
<< If you can do better than Carolus Lineus, then by all means, please do.
Just make sure people know which sharks, cats, bumble bees, pencils,
hatchets, swords, lions and tigers and bears (0h my!), you are referring to.
Taxonomy, like all science, is an ongoing process of investigation,
evaluation and re-revaluation, all the time using newer techniques such as
DNA analysis and, oh yes, c-o-m-p-u-t-e-r-s. If you can't handle the science
behind the hobby, then leave it to those who can. >>
240 years ago Carl Linnaeaus introduced a system of identifying specific
organisms. It also showed their relationship to other organisms at the
genera level. I believe that he thought that the names, once assigned, would
last forever. But for the last 50 years, the rapid changes that you
acknowledge require that long-standing, familiar names be changed to remain
consistent with Carl's system.
This must be maddening to scientists who have to keep up with changes to the
names of, say, the thousands of bacteria that they study. Just consider the
problems in searching the literature for information on a bacteria that has
undergone several name changes.
In the old days one could tell the occupation of a person by his surname.
That changed when Mr. Miller's son decided that he wanted to become a tailor.
The whole system broke down, and they went to Social Security numbers. <g>
I think we'll see a new system of naming organisms, purely numeric but tied
into DNA structures which are unchanging. These non-significant identifiers
will be linked by computers to historic, meaningful names with which people
can identify. Maybe something like the Dewey Decimal System, used in
libraries to identify books, or the Library of Congress publication