"So You Think" the arguments of lumpers and splitters might be solved by
appointing a panel of international experts. Such as those PBs who
turned our Stone Curlew into a "Thicknee"?
I might stick to Cayley's thanks.
Carl Clifford wrote:
I am amazed by the constant outbreaks of ornithological Hansonism that
pops up in B-Aus when it comes to bird names. The International
Ornithological Union (IOU) is an international body of prominent
professional ornithologists ( some 200) who, among many other things,
arbitrate on the common names of birds. The membership of the IOU can
be seen at http://int-ornith-union.org/IOUmembers.html Among the
members of the IOU are Dr. Richard Schodde and Dr. Walter Boles, both
of who seem to know a thing or two about birds.
The publication "Birds of the World : Recommended English Names" by
Gill & Wright is published on behalf of the IOU and is "a volunteer
project with worldwide participation by birders and professional
ornithologists". The goal of this publication is "to facilitate
worldwide communication in ornithology and conservation through the
consistent use of English names linked to current species taxonomy. The
English names follow explicit guidelines for spelling and construction
that increase clarity of application", so it it is not an ivory tower
publicaton, but a collaboration between amateur and professional
ornithologists. On those grounds I think it is reasonable to regard
BOTW as the standard list of common English language names world wide.
If anyone can come up with a rational argument as to why this should
not be so, I would be very interested in hearing it.
As for Scientific names and species status, the Index of Organism Names
(ION), see http://www.organismnames.com/ , which ION contains the
organism names related data gathered from the scientific literature for
Thomson Reuters' Zoological Record® database. Viruses, bacteria and
plant names will be added from other Thomson Reuters databases such as
BIOSIS Previews® and Biological Abstracts® " is the repository for all
currently accepted species of everything. If it lives and has been
named, it is in ION.
There is a well established mechanism for the common names of birds and
whether a species is a species, so why not stick to it, as it seems to
All we need to do now is to try and get a single Avian taxonomy up and
accepted, but I don't think any of us will see that in our lifetimes.
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