[Taxacom] when is a common species critically endangered?

Zack Murrell murrellze at appstate.edu
Thu Jun 28 12:39:11 CDT 2012


Given some of the things Koko has done (language, named the cat, food 
sharing) makes your list seem shaky.  Have we, in defining ourselves, 
done so as an attempt to emphasize the differences?

I think this issue is not a "tempest in a teapot" but is actually 
crucial to how we decide to allocate scarce resources in conserving our 


Zack Murrell
Associate Professor and Curator of the Herbarium
Director, SouthEast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections (SERNEC)
Department of Biology
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

On 6/28/2012 10:58 AM, Frederick W. Schueler wrote:
> On 6/28/2012 3:50 AM, Paul van Rijckevorsel wrote:
>> From: "Zack Murrell"<murrellze at appstate.edu>
>> Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2012 2:21 AM
>> [...]
>>> By the way, one definition of human from the Online Etymology Dictionary
>>> is "humane, philanthropic, kind, gentle, polite; learned, refined,
>>> civilized".  This definition doesn't seem to fit very well with any
>>> current description of Homo sapiens Linnaeus.
>> ***
>> Yes, there are (at least) two definitions of "human", the above is the
>> nineteenth Century (pre-WW I) definition: "human" as different from
>> "animal", by the ability to think and the use of that ability to make
>> informed decisions. Human = reasoning, cultured, etc.
> * or you can go with Val Geist, and define "human characteristics" (his
> "human health") as the apomorphies that distinguish us from the other
> Great Apes - language, music, food sharing, extended social networks,
> technology, scholarship, and giving names to the other species of creatures.
> fred.
> ======================================================
>> Much more common these days is the definition of "human" as
>> "recognizably Homo sapiens". Human characteristics are having
>> two eyes, a nose, a personality, etc. Being shouted at by your
>> boss and then going home to kick the dog is "human". Most
>> "human" caracteristics are those of the higher mammals (and birds)
>> and thus cats and dogs are accepted as having many human traits.
>> The ability to think is as likely to be used to rationalize actions not
>> based on informed decisions. In short, the human being is not
>> distinct from animals but is the standard by which to measure
>> other animals. Creepy crawlies fail the "human test" and are yeech,
>> while a seal pup is cute.
>> Obviously these two definitions are mutually exclusive, and it
>> is important to keep in mind which definition is being used.
>> Paul
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