Re: abbreviations

Subject: Re: abbreviations
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 12:26:57 +1100 (EST)
On Tue, 26 Jan 1999, Muir Environmental wrote:
> There's an added benefit - it helps the user to learn the scientific names,
> which as I said yesterday, are the only truely reliable and universally
> accepted name.

Not to start an argument but I'd bet that, for the last 30 years, the
common names used in publications on Australian birds have been more
stable than taxonomic names.  Browse Christidis & Boles to see how
taxonomic names can change without the common name changing.

For other groups like frogs and plants, I know and use taxonomic names but
for many birds (the group I know best) I can't remember taxonomic names.
This I reckon is a testament to the utility of bird common names.

Of course, I agree its useful knowing the taxonomic names as well.

> Once its made clear which species the author refers to, popular short
> forms/abbreviations (abbs) are OK (though not as good as using the >
shortened scientific name) as the reader can refer back in the document to

Here I would start an argument.  Papers on Australian birds would expand
their readership if they used common names in the text with the taxonomic
name appended to first mention and in an appendix.

Andrew Taylor

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