Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Memorial Museum of Extinct Animal Names

Fight nomenclature Darwinism
  (+10, -1)(+10, -1)
(+10, -1)
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For political or zoological reasons many animal names have become obsolete such as brontosaurus, laughing hyena, killer whale, saber-toothed tiger, North American buffalo, etc. I propose a small but poignant museum to the memory to these and to those on the brink of extinction.
FarmerJohn, Apr 15 2002

Entangled Right Whale Studies http://www.coastals...org/rescue/1102.htm
Center for Coastal Studies does great work with these animals. [waugsqueke, Apr 16 2002]


       Most of extincted animal have no name since they were never discovered or recorded.
bing, Apr 15 2002

       bing - it's the names that are extinct here, not the animals. I'm all for it. I'd like brock (badger) and reynard (fox) in there please.
goff, Apr 15 2002

       So we're going to attempt to preserve words? Why? A rose by any other name.......   

       The animals in question don't know the name, nor do they care. These are simply arbitrary labels that humans have decided to attach to something.
rbl, Apr 15 2002

       assign the old names to new things. hairy mammoth = perhaps, rbls new hybrid rose for instance
po, Apr 15 2002

       it's all semantics   

       and I'm disappointed [waugs] hasn't been here to go on about chickens yet......
rbl, Apr 15 2002

       I'm voting for this because most of the names would be those of thousand and thousands of plants and insects rather than the more dramatic large mammals. and this might help us realise the rate at which we are losing species. (sermon over)
IvanIdea, Apr 15 2002

       Incorrectamundo, UB. Orcinus is the genus of toothed whales to which the killer whale belongs (and much searching can not find another, though I believe there may be) and Orca is the species. It refers only to the killer whale and no other.
Incidentally, most whales are not toothed, and are part of the baelene (anglicised) genus which have baelene plates to filtre plankton (e.g. Wright, humpback, Blue, etc.)
goff, Apr 16 2002

       May be, but they are called orcas because of the species name, not because of the generic latin. That's why they started using the term, not because it is sexier than killer whale. (Although it does sound more reight on, doesn't it?). As for the other sort, you could be wright...
goff, Apr 16 2002

       "Right" is right. These whales are constantly getting entangled in fisherpersons' nets in the Bay of Fundy, off Nova Scotia. See link.
waugsqueke, Apr 16 2002

       But back to the idea, chappies...Many of the now-discontinued names, though politically incorrect or taxonomically errant, carry some weight of historical and cultural meaning. The northern squawfish, a rather repugnant-looking, flaccid-fleshed, and tasteless species growing to about .5 meter in length and infesting the Pacific Northwest, is now called the northern pikeminnow because 'squaw' is considered derogatory to native american women.   

       Should the older name be memorialized? I dunno. It certainly has not the cachet of 'sabertooth tiger'. The most memorable thing about Ptychocheilus oregonensis, to give it its scientific moniker, is its habit of forcing out a disgusting little belch when picked up. Still, for years it has been known (and despised) as 'squawfish' and now it's not.   

       Perhaps there could be a special room in the Museum, small and a bit dingy, for derogatory names of unmemorable species?
Dog Ed, Apr 17 2002

       My understanding is that ORCA is a Latin word meaning "sea monster" probably borrowed from Greek. All whales were seen as sea monsters until at least the 16th century. Other words for SABERTOOTH TIGER are "saber cat" and "sword cat" but they haven't gained the currency of the former. The German and Russian words for this animal Sabelzahntiger and Sabelzubnytiger are loan translations from the English. The French word, Machairoide derives from the name of a species of sabertooth cats widespread in Europe and Asia, The Machairoides. There is "arbitrariness" in almost all human words in every language. Morris Swadesh, about a century ago, identified only about 100 word that had exact semantic equivalents in every human language of the world like, fire, water, bird, hunger etc. Some linguists claim that it might be as high as 300 to 400 words, but the point is, it's not very many. - - - Brian P. Costello Seattle, Washington June 10, 2003
bcostel, Jun 10 2003


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