Saturday, March 6
The science of taxonomy, as you surely know, has ways of comparing all the living things in the world and clumping the most closely related among them (those which can actually interbreed) into species, then the most similar species into genera (singlur: genus), genera into families, families into classes, classes into orders, orders into phyla, and so on.
Out of the technical jargon you will hear scientists (or other people) talk about groups of animals (usually at the "family" or "class" level, but not always) with a sort of short-hand 'group name' - like hominids for all humans and their closely related ancestors (Homo Neanderthalis, Homo Erectus, Australopithicines like "Lucy", and so on, but NOT, for example, chimps or gorillas, which are more distantly related to the hominids than hominids are to each other). With me so far?
Ok, so here are some scientific shorthand terms used to describe common animals. I've tried to put them generally in order from easiest to hardest. Try to give the common (non-scientific name) for that group or perhaps an example or two. How many can you get?
No search engines, please!
00. Primates - Humans, Apes, Monkeys, Prosimians
Ok, I think we'll stop there. 16 is a nice, square number (square of a square!). I'll give you a hint: In the list above 10 are mammals (not counting "00"), and 6 are either birds, reptiles, or other things.
Good luck, and if you know any other common group names you didn't find on this list, please share them so we can all learn!
Posted by Metamatician on Saturday, March 06, 2010
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