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IOC combines forces w/ NACC, SACC, Cornell, and more to produce "global checklist" (1 Viewer)

dantheman

Bah humbug
I'm agreeing with a lot that is being said here. But I think a fair few people know a handful more dinosaur names (maybe not the full binomial admittedly) - Diplodocus, Stegasaurus, Velociraptor, Pteradactyl etc, depending on how recently they watched those documentaries about a dinosaur theme park ... ;)
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
I'm agreeing with a lot that is being said here. But I think a fair few people know a handful more dinosaur names (maybe not the full binomial admittedly) - Diplodocus, Stegasaurus, Velociraptor, Pteradactyl etc, depending on how recently they watched those documentaries about a dinosaur theme park ... ;)

That's simply because we don't usually run across them, else we'd have proper names for them.
It might be worth starting a contest for plausible popular names for the better known dinosaurs. We surely deserve better than a bunch of .....saurus appelations.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
That's simply because we don't usually run across them, else we'd have proper names for them.
It might be worth starting a contest for plausible popular names for the better known dinosaurs. We surely deserve better than a bunch of .....saurus appelations.

Probably a good thing ... or not. Help solve some other of the world's problems.

Renaming - agree - probably should have it's own thread though ...
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
That's simply because we don't usually run across them, else we'd have proper names for them.
It might be worth starting a contest for plausible popular names for the better known dinosaurs. We surely deserve better than a bunch of .....saurus appelations.

Toothy McToothface? Great Big B****** Lizard?

No.....!

I was birding on Shetland a couple of years ago and a Greenish Warbler found its way to a community woodland whose winding footpath was hosting a fibreglass dinosaur exhibition.

"Directions please"

(Hushed tones) "It's just to the left of the Tyrannosaur's head" - the urge to add "now run!" had to be resisted....

Lets stick with what we've got on this! :t:

John
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I'll bet that the average person knows about three Dinosaurs, most would be pushed to go beyond Brontosaurus, Tricerotops and T-rex so that's not really a valid comparison.

The average person knows only very small number of birds by common names, most of which are things in there yard or area (And they are likely to use completely incorrect names for some of those they do know...see any heron-like bird in parts of my country called a "crane"). So I am not certain this is a good comparison

There is a subculture of paleo folks and amateur collectors who know a lot of latin names. Latin taxonomy is also much more accepted in a lot of other hobbyist groups to various extents, from fish-keeping to shell-collecting. And many of these hobbyist groups do not lose sleep over the idea that multiple common names exist for critters. Even hobbies that are far more impacted by this (seriously...it gets damn confusing going to a petstore and sometimes figuring out whats in tank, because they are using some defunct trade name from 20 years versus the current popular name). For whatever historical quirks, birders double-downed on common names and now obsess over them to a far greater degree than practically any other relevant naturalist hobby.
 
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Kirk Roth

Well-known member
The average person knows only very small number of birds by common names, most of which are things in there yard or area (And they are likely to use completely incorrect names for some of those they do know...see any heron-like bird in parts of my country called a "crane"). So I am not certain this is a good comparison

There is a subculture of paleo folks and amateur collectors who know a lot of latin names. Latin taxonomy is also much more accepted in a lot of other hobbyist groups to various extents, from fish-keeping to shell-collecting. And many of these hobbyist groups do not lose sleep over the idea that multiple common names exist for critters. Even hobbies that are far more impacted by this (seriously...it gets damn confusing going to a petstore and sometimes figuring out whats in tank, because they are using some defunct trade name from 20 years versus the current popular name). For whatever historical quirks, birders double-downed on common names and now obsess over them to a far greater degree than practically any other relevant naturalist hobby.

We were talking about Creationists, not really birders, regarding the Latin names of dinosaurs. I can attest that indeed a great many of the more fervent Creationists I've heard from do have a passing familiarity with dinosaur names and that there is a whole new level of frustration experienced listening to someone "explain" how Archaeopteryx fossils are "faked."

But the topic has moved to birders, which have a whole different motivation in naming. I might argue that understanding taxonomy does make one a better birder (e.g. understanding why Apodiformes don't perch on wires like swallows, etc. etc. etc.) but agree that to many birdwatchers it is not a necessary skill.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
We were talking about Creationists, not really birders, regarding the Latin names of dinosaurs. I can attest that indeed a great many of the more fervent Creationists I've heard from do have a passing familiarity with dinosaur names and that there is a whole new level of frustration experienced listening to someone "explain" how Archaeopteryx fossils are "faked."

But the topic has moved to birders, which have a whole different motivation in naming. I might argue that understanding taxonomy does make one a better birder (e.g. understanding why Apodiformes don't perch on wires like swallows, etc. etc. etc.) but agree that to many birdwatchers it is not a necessary skill.

Personally I agree...knowing that vireos and New World warblers are very different unrelated groups of birds helped me as an early birder sort of key in on the subtle differences in form and behavior that distinguish the two.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
So I was procrastinating from walking home and grading quizzes, and went and checked out this page for this to see if there was any updates. Given that most of this thread was people arguing and worrying about common names, people might want to take a gander at this note on common names (which I wonder was maybe inspired by this thread's arguments?). Bolded text was my doing


IOU Statement on Vernacular and Common Bird Names

Preamble:

Consistency of name usage is of utmost importance in communication about bird species, ranging from research, conservation and legal contexts all the way to informal and everyday communication. In birds – more so than in any other animal group – the use of common and vernacular names well outweighs that of scientific names because of the large number of amateur ornithologists using them. In an international context and given that English is the lingua franca of science, it is, therefore, important to have a global consensus on English names to avoid misunderstandings in communication. At the same time, regional and local bird names in a variety of languages are to be encouraged to support local citizen science and culture.

English-language names:

English is the language of international communication. English bird names therefore must serve a dual purpose: they must facilitate global communication while – at the same time – satisfying the communication needs of local and regional English-speaking communities. The two purposes are sometimes at loggerheads. Therefore, a sustainable solution will only be achieved if multiple names are permitted. The IOU is committed to supporting regional and national entities which undertake efforts to capture, document, and standardize the English bird names for their respective regions. For instance, the local names of cosmopolitan bird species may well differ among English-speaking communities in North America, South Africa, the British Isles, South and Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. No region or country should be forced to give up names that have been in long-established local or regional usage at the expense of a prescribed global name.

Unique common English names:

For academic communication, for example as part of the global taxonomic list of birds currently in preparation, it is important that there is listed at least one unique common English name for each bird species. Technological advances allow such unique names to be cross-listed with all other English or non-English vernacular names. In many databases, users can specify their preferred local variety of English, allowing the respective regional or national names to be displayed in lieu of the unique common English name. In listing English names, the IOU attempts to capture the diversity of name usages that have existed through ornithological history, but at no point passes judgment on the political, societal, cultural, geographic or ecological appropriateness of such names.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Also, I noticed that the membership of some of the groups is different, and seems a tad more balanced before in the Taxonomic committee.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
The IOU is committed to supporting regional and national entities which undertake efforts to capture, document, and standardize the English bird names for their respective regions. For instance, the local names of cosmopolitan bird species may well differ among English-speaking communities in North America, South Africa, the British Isles, South and Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. No region or country should be forced to give up names that have been in long-established local or regional usage at the expense of a prescribed global name.

In listing English names, the IOU attempts to capture the diversity of name usages that have existed through ornithological history, but at no point passes judgment on the political, societal, cultural, geographic or ecological appropriateness of such names.
Point one suggests support for entities which want the power to maintain established names in their own area such as was discussed in the thread on African nomenclature.

Point two, I guess they're leaving it to the various protest groups to challenge existing names that fall under the headers they mention rather than taking the initiative themselves? Sensible move IMO.
 

Kirk Roth

Well-known member
So I was procrastinating from walking home and grading quizzes, and went and checked out this page for this to see if there was any updates. Given that most of this thread was people arguing and worrying about common names, people might want to take a gander at this note on common names (which I wonder was maybe inspired by this thread's arguments?). Bolded text was my doing


IOU Statement on Vernacular and Common Bird Names

Preamble:

Consistency of name usage is of utmost importance in communication about bird species, ranging from research, conservation and legal contexts all the way to informal and everyday communication. In birds – more so than in any other animal group – the use of common and vernacular names well outweighs that of scientific names because of the large number of amateur ornithologists using them. In an international context and given that English is the lingua franca of science, it is, therefore, important to have a global consensus on English names to avoid misunderstandings in communication. At the same time, regional and local bird names in a variety of languages are to be encouraged to support local citizen science and culture.

English-language names:

English is the language of international communication. English bird names therefore must serve a dual purpose: they must facilitate global communication while – at the same time – satisfying the communication needs of local and regional English-speaking communities. The two purposes are sometimes at loggerheads. Therefore, a sustainable solution will only be achieved if multiple names are permitted. The IOU is committed to supporting regional and national entities which undertake efforts to capture, document, and standardize the English bird names for their respective regions. For instance, the local names of cosmopolitan bird species may well differ among English-speaking communities in North America, South Africa, the British Isles, South and Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. No region or country should be forced to give up names that have been in long-established local or regional usage at the expense of a prescribed global name.

Unique common English names:

For academic communication, for example as part of the global taxonomic list of birds currently in preparation, it is important that there is listed at least one unique common English name for each bird species. Technological advances allow such unique names to be cross-listed with all other English or non-English vernacular names. In many databases, users can specify their preferred local variety of English, allowing the respective regional or national names to be displayed in lieu of the unique common English name. In listing English names, the IOU attempts to capture the diversity of name usages that have existed through ornithological history, but at no point passes judgment on the political, societal, cultural, geographic or ecological appropriateness of such names.

Am I understanding correctly that this has been out there since January and the forum is just now finding out? That's a bit embarrassing!

But putting that aside, this is very welcome news. I think this philosophy is essential if the list wants to claim worldwide authority, with the upshot of eliminating (or at least reducing) so many minor but tedious naming problems as have been identified over the years in this forum. Good for IOU in recognizing the reality of their task and for putting out this commitment statement.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
To be fair, I don't remember any fanfare for the announcement, and given there have been no other developments on this front since the checklist was announced, that shouldn't be much of a surprise that the statement would go unnoticed. Especially since its probably many years away before we see the actual checklist.
 

thomasdonegan

Former amateur ornithologist
The more interesting development here is the joining of BirdLife to the initiative, the only "big" world checklist that was not previously involved. I am surprised this was not picked up more in the above discussion. Some other personnel changes have occurred. One thing I like about this WGAC initiative is that Les Christidis and Frank Rheindt are chairing it. Les did some work as junior co-author on H&M4 second volume but other than that, neither of them is emotionally tied to or entrenched in following one or other of the various lists (whose authors have mostly defended their own list as the single and only truth to the exclusion of all others and expressed a desire never to budge an inch towards the others.... until this initiative came along). That none of the main or first authors of any of the big global lists is the chair can only be a good thing for any hope of making compromises. For Colombia a few years ago, when I worked on its national checklist, we assessed about 70-80% of BirdLife splits as being "good". BirdLife have not budged on any of their bad splits, whilst most of the other authorities reject the BirdLife splits by rote because "my list is a better list than your list" or maybe better "my method is a better method than your method". Given that most (but not all) of the BirdLife splits seem well-founded, trying to find compromises must now be a good thing.

When this whole WGAC thing was announced, there was a bit of an uproar in some parts of twitter etc about the white male, "global North" nature of this new all-powerful bird name and taxonomic committee - especially given that global bird diversity is highest in South America, Asia and Africa. Of course, to a large part that seems inevitable given that the IOC, NACC, SACC, Clements and now BirdLife lists are all pooling, and given who the authors are of those various global bird checklists.

Below, underlines are new; strike-out exited. Paul Donald is BirdLife's representative. Nacho Areta replaced Van Remsen for South America/SACC, presumably. No Asian or African ornithologists are present still and only one woman, unless I missed something.

Executive Committee
Les Christidis (Chair)
Frank Rheindt (Deputy Chair)
David Donsker
Pam Rasmussen
Richard Schodde
Tom Schulenberg
Marshall Iliff
Denis Lepage
Paul Donald

Taxonomic Committee
Frank Rheindt (Chair)
Pam Rasmussen
Richard Schodde
Tom Schulenberg
Terry Chesser
J. V. Remsen, Jr
Per Alström
Paul Donald
Juan Ignacio Areta (Nacho)


Bibliographic Committee


David Donsker (Chair)
Frank Rheindt
Richard Schodde
Alan Peterson
Frederik Brammer

Technical Team

Marshall Iliff (Chair)
Denis Lepage
David Donsker
Jeffrey Gerbracht
 
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Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
People may quote it occasionally and use it for reference but not sure I know a single person who uses the Birdlife list for their own listing?
 

thomasdonegan

Former amateur ornithologist
People may quote it occasionally and use it for reference but not sure I know a single person who uses the Birdlife list for their own listing?
That does not mean that, e.g. the split of Merida Brush-Finch Atlapetes meridae from Moustached; or of Splendid Woodpecker Campephilus splendens from C. guayaquilensis - to name two totally obvious ones - are wrong. Only BirdLife splits those two, for example; the other lists all would have the world as flat on those and many other situations. BirdLife splits a few hundred more species than all the others, and in the preponderance of cases they must be correct. IOC, eBird etc have more interactive and longer-established IT which is more widely used by birders, which does not make them correct, just more popular.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
People may quote it occasionally and use it for reference but not sure I know a single person who uses the Birdlife list for their own listing?
But the Birdlife checklist is important for conservation purposes. The end goal of the list is not simply to please a bunch of us listers, but rather to create a common list that birders, scientists using ebird, and folks accessing conservation status of population can use without conflicts. As is, you probably have three major lists each oriented towards different groups (Clements for Ebird, Birdlife for conservation, and IOC for world birders)
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
That does not mean that, e.g. the split of Merida Brush-Finch Atlapetes meridae from Moustached; or of Splendid Woodpecker Campephilus splendens from C. guayaquilensis - to name two totally obvious ones - are wrong. Only BirdLife splits those two, for example; the other lists all would have the world as flat on those and many other situations. BirdLife splits a few hundred more species than all the others, and in the preponderance of cases they must be correct. IOC, eBird etc have more interactive and longer-established IT which is more widely used by birders, which does not make them correct, just more popular.
I've been comparing the the different checklists for ABA area birds over the last few weeks...while Clements is the most conservative, I don't think IOC and Birdlife are not more liberal when compared to each other. The latter seems to be biased towards birds with very different appearances, while the former is better at picking up cryptic species. Both lists have species that the other list doesn't recognize.
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
The problem is that there isn't a clear right or wrong. The boundary between what is a species and what is not doesn't exist, the spectrum of relatedness is continuous, so it's more of a stance than anything. Birdlife is notoriously splitty - some say it's because it helps puah for conservation, when a "species" is threatened.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
The problem is that there isn't a clear right or wrong. The boundary between what is a species and what is not doesn't exist, the spectrum of relatedness is continuous, so it's more of a stance than anything. Birdlife is notoriously splitty - some say it's because it helps puah for conservation, when a "species" is threatened.
I think its more the method they use, not specifically that they have an agenda for conservation purposes. There are splits recognized by them of species where the different populations are not remotely endangered.
 

thomasdonegan

Former amateur ornithologist
I think its more the method they use, not specifically that they have an agenda for conservation purposes. There are splits recognized by them of species where the different populations are not remotely endangered.
Referring yours and Jan's I don't think it's either a difference in method or a view among shades of grey creating differences between lists. Maybe for N America or Europe where very few differences exist anyway, and we can argue all day about Crossbills, Larus gulls or Stonechats and not a right lot else. But not for the tropics. Many of the present committees are simply and steadfastly refusing to consider BirdLife or IOC splits on some "point of principle". There is no firm decision "not to split" cases like those mentioned (whilst at the same time applying a consistent method to "split hairs" with much more similar to one another or genetically closer splits, like Herring Gulls or Common/Mew Gulls). There is no consistency, there is no method or grand scheme; it is laziness, the over-whelming nature of tropical faunas or bloody-mindedness / grandstanding (or all of them) behind much of the differences between lists. IOC, Clements and SACC/NACC simply want to ignore what BirdLife have done on principle - and are not even considering their proposals. In some cases, these have support in the periodical literature but because BirdLife was the original messenger, they don't get even considered. Hopefully this new project can involve banging some heads together and sorting some of these things out!
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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