Latin names, scientific classification, or
I want to explore the 'Latin names', this is
like many things more complicated looking than it really is, its very similar to
the postcode system we use, and like the postcode, you don't have to allocate
it, just use it.
Take a postcode, for example GL52 6TU, we can
break this down to GL Gloucester area, GL52 is an area within the Gloucester
delivery area, 6 is a sub area of this, and TU is the individual postal
walk, so in 4 steps we got down to few houses, the house number or name giving
the final 5th level. You see its just chopping areas into smaller areas. The
'Latin names' or taxionomy is the same, its just we use unfamiliar words instead
of letters and numbers.
The entire naming system for plants, animals,
fungi etc, works in a common way. Historically people got into the habit
of using 'Latin' as a universal language, toady, like air traffic control we
would have chosen English.
So lets start to untangle this code, and use
the way birds are classified as our key.
Bird classification started in 1676, and
developed further over time. With a standardised system in use today. Although
there are a few peculiarities.
|A long way back,
people started to work out ways to divide up all living things into a
classification system. Throughout history this has evolved, and this has
created an 8 tree that has 8 levels of division.
Most models include a top level of life,
and a second of domain.
Below this we have the first that is of
interest to us, Kingdom. Different systems have slightly different
groupings, but in all 'Animalia' (animal) is the classification that
includes all living wildlife.
The next level Phylum, (Division).
Our selection here is 'Chordata', (cord) this relates
to creatures that have a 'hollow dorsal nervous chord' including
around 100,000 species.
The next level of interest to us is
Class, Our selection here is 'Aves' (birds)
technically to get from from Chordata down to
Aves, we would discover a subdivision at Subphylum (subclass) =
Vertebrata, and the next breakdown as unranked
= Archosauria, but this is more a process and not normally shown.
Remember we don't have to allocate the class just look it up, if we want it.
We are now going to need to target a specific
bird, and I have chosen the Robin. A panel on the right shows the
scientific notation for the Robin.
The next level is Order, and more
than half of all the birds are in the largest order
'Passeriformes', which means perching birds. The robin is within this.
The next level is
Family, the Robin is with 'Muscicapidae'
(old world flycatchers).
The next level is Genus, the Robin
is within 'Erithacus', meaning a member of the thrush
And finally we have Species.
'Rubecula' sometimes written 'E.rubecula'
The problem many people have with these
names is they think they either have to remember them, be able to recall
them or to allocate them, and we don't need to do any of these. Just like a
postcode we can look them up as and when required.
The easiest way to decode a name, for
example Erithacus rubecula, is just to copy and paste
it into the Google search box, and all the entries come up Robin.
A typical species
entry in Wikipedia
Now if we have that licked, shall we move on to
the Harry Potter latin spells!!!
Equipment suitable for
and animal behaviour, Hides and camouflage
General tips on
Squirrels and How to
Birds Species - the large list