[Taxacom] Binomial Nomenclature - was: "cataloguing hypotheses & not real things"

Curtis Clark lists at curtisclark.org
Sun Sep 1 19:17:13 CDT 2013

On 2013-09-01 2:58 AM, Dan Lahr wrote:
> Not to mention how arbitrary it is. "Let's use two names. Not three, not
> four, two. Just because." In my short experience I have never come across a
> justification, if someone knows of it, I would love to hear it.

That part is easy. Linnaeus started out with descriptive phrases, which 
were almost always polynomial. These consisted of the genus and a 
differentia, distinguishing that species from all the rest in the genus. 
This was effectively a diagnosis. As a mnemonic, Linnaeus put a 
single-word epithet in the margin. Others started using the genus and 
epithet, avoiding the long differentia, so that Linnaeus unintentionally 
created binomial nomenclature.

Curtis Clark        http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark
Biological Sciences                   +1 909 869 4140
Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona CA 91768

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