Baronger's Scribblings

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Turkey says names make specious argument.

The linnean classification of certain animal species in Turkey have been changed by the government. The names changed had names of subregions that had seperatist groups in their taxonomic structure. This usually occurs at the species level which, in order to differentiate animals that are in a like genus.

The genus level is the name that is often the common folk name. Thus we would have the generic name for an oak tree. The genus would more specifically state that it is a red oak, white oak or a skunk oak. One of the names that irritated Turkey was Vulpes vulpes kurdistania which was shortened to just Vulpes vulpes. They took away the sub species designation, saying that it gave support to the Kurdistan seperatist movement. So is Turkey being as clever as a fox or are they being ridiculous.

It would be a specious argument on the part of the Kurds, to claim that just because scientists recognize a sub-species of red fox as being native to Kurdistan, that the Kurdistan should be free of Turkey. It would be Turkey claiming that the United States belonged to them, because we had turkeys living here. Turkey needs to rethink this policy, or at least rename the animals after regional landmarks. Now they have the subspecies classified as being identical to a red fox in England. I am hoping that Turkey is cognizant of the effect they might have on how it might effect the classification of other animals.

The linnean classification is: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species (The pneumonic is Kissing Passionately Can Open For Good Sex, or at least this is the dirty and easily remembered pneumonic.)

The major beef I have with this is that it is politically motivated. Species are reclassified all the time as more is learned about their genetic makeup. Species can be split apart or combined with others. This can be a mixed blessing to the many birders out there as it can either take away or add to their species lists. Politics should stay out of the sciences. Also science should stay out of politics, and perhaps scientists should consider ramifications of the names they give.

Hattip: languagehat, tork



Post a Comment

<< Home

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by