Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Working Title: Taxonomic Terms Confusion: From YKTTW

Tragic The Dragon: No love for Tyrannosaurus bataar?

Circeus: Tarbosaurus bataar

From The Other Wiki: "Its taxonomy is also controversial, with some scientists considering Tarbosaurus bataar from Asia to represent a second species of Tyrannosaurus and others maintaining Tarbosaurus as a separate genus."

I could swear there's another Tyrannosaurus species out there but we'll let it go.

Circeus: Nanotyrannus is probably what you're thinking. In the meantime, I just switched it to an equally well-known example without taxonomic doubts.
Karalora: Clarified the note about sharks.
Cameoflage: This note didn't seem appropriate for the page itself, but I wanted to mention it anyways: I'm guilty of some of these (namely, substituting "race" for "species" and occasionally "family" for "genus") for the sake of avoiding repetition in the former case and because it sounds better in the latter case, even though I know better.

Karalora: Well, as long as you know what you did was wrong. :P

me : NO, what you're doing is bad and you should feel bad!!!!one!1eleven1one11!!! Vocabulary is Serious Business
Karalora: The thing about "sea stars" and "sea jellies" bugs me a little. I know it's in the interest of accuracy, but...well, prairie dogs aren't really canids, but I don't know of any push to get them renamed "prairie squirrels."

Circeus: yeah. I removed it. That's just ridiculous quibbling at that point. "Sea anemone" is as okay as "sub-Species". (compare seashore, the presence of a division is usually an artifact).
The Bad Wolf: am I the only one who thinks that calling out things that use "class" when they mean phylum or order is a bit nit picky, I mean class while it is a taxonomic level is also a word that means group of similar things and thus in normal conversation would be completely correct when used to talk of phyla of animals if it didn't also have its own special taxonomic meaning.

Erica MZDM: A lot of this depends on context, honestly - If it explicitly involves a biologist(or trying to teach biology), then the incorrect terms are jarring. If it isn't intended to be science-y, then I honestly don't care if people are using the vernacular definitions of race, family, order, etc. Phylum, taxon, and genus used incorrectly do tend to make me twitch, just because they're almost always used explicitly to make the person sound science-y.

Nornagest: I think it's reasonable to draw the line when the term doesn't have any common meaning, or when it's clearly intended to teach formal biology in context. However, a lot of these examples are clearly less formal than that; I'd think nothing of using "family" to describe another group of taxa in a young children's science textbook, since the basic idea is simply to convey genetic similarity. "Class" is a little further from the mark, but I'd still let it go.

Antheia: Moving discussion here:

  • This is actually how This Troper gets around his white guilt when dealing with "races" said to be inherently stupid or evil or what have you. In most RP Gs, humans have the same stats no matter what their race—they're all the same species, so they're all basically the same. Orcs, on the other hand, aren't related to humans, and in fact have no common ancestors—in most settings, they, like other "races," were created in their present state by their (usually evil) deities. Technically.
  • In fairness, the English word "race" historically has been used to refer to anything from Homo sapiens as a whole to a single family line.
  • It could also be a corollary of What Measure Is a Non-Human?. In the present day, people come in several "races", and other species are typically regarded as lesser than humans. Using the term "race" to describe a sapient species could therefore be considered an indication of equal status - and in some works, alien species are explicitly noted as being "legally human".