defining Endemics

To: birding aus <>
Subject: defining Endemics
From: Laurie & Leanne Knight <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 19:07:47 +1000
Philip A. Veerman wrote:
> This does not answer John's question but complicates it. The Concise
> Oxford Dictionary says "endemic" means "regularly found among". This
> does not include any concept of exclusivity. Therefore on that basis,
> the Thylacine, Night Parrot or Painted Snipe are not endemic to
> Australia, because they are not regularly found here. This seems odd,
> as at least two of them are certainly native to and restricted to
> Australia and these species have always been so. However, on that
> basis, the Rabbit and the Common Starling certainly are endemic to
> Australia, because they are regularly found here. Clearly this
> dictionary meaning is not the way we use the word.
> In our usual context, such as Webster's Dictionary has it, endemic
> means two different things, quite different from the Concise Oxford
> Dictionary meaning. 

Actually, since this is birding-aus and the original post refers to
"Australian Endemics", definitions found in foreign dictionaries, such
as those published by Oxford and Websters, are of limited relevance [if
not misleading].  In this case, we need to refer to a dinky di
dictionary, and that dinky di dictionary is Macquarie.

The Macquarie Dictionary defines endemic as:
adj 1. peculiar to a particular people or locality, as a disease. 2.
native to a country or locality, as a plant.  -n. 3. an endemic disease
or plant.  [Gk endemos belonging to a people + IC]

As such, night parrots are Oz endemics, and rabbits aint.

Regards, Laurie [true blue].

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