From the Washington Submit, November 1, 2023: “The American Ornithological Society (AOU) says it’ll alter the names of North American birds named after people, beginning with as much as 80 of them.” Their justifications are that the names are of individuals with unfavourable reputations – endorsing or taking part in slavery, for instance – and that the names should not descriptive. Let me ponder these causes a bit.
The statues of civil conflict heroes of the South, plaques bearing names of racists, and even Thomas Jefferson, a slave proprietor, have been eliminated in the previous couple of years. These monuments had been positioned there by civic teams or governments, representing numbers of individuals. Chicken names, like Scott’s Oriole, named after Main Common Winfield Scott by Darius Sofa, a U.S. Civil Battle basic, to commemorate his superior within the Mexican-American Battle, Common Winfield Scott, had been named by one particular person. Are we to take away Scott’s identify as a result of a Civil Battle determine named the chook? LeConte’s sparrow was named by John James Audubon for John Lawrence Leconte, an entomologist. Ought to we take away the latter LeConte’s identify from his sparrow as a result of Audubon honored him? And precisely how will we choose individuals who lived a century or extra in the past? Numerous long-ago ornithologists shot birds, a number of them – how about eliminating their names? The entire enterprise will get difficult.
The opposite motive the AOU desires to vary the names is that they don’t seem to be descriptive. Certain, Scott’s Oriole, LeConte’s Sparrow, and Clark’s Grebe don’t let you know a lot in regards to the chook, however neither do the Widespread Crow, Widespread Tern, Whimbrel, Northern Flicker, Killdeer, or King Eider. Is the AOU going to vary all these names now? And what in regards to the Worldwide Ornithological Committee (IOC) that established the official English widespread names of all of the birds of the world? Are they going to just accept these identify modifications?
And what about scientific names? Townsend’s Solitaire, named after John Kirk Townsend who collected skulls of Native Individuals, has the scientific identify Myadestes townsendi. To be constant in eliminating offensive names, that identify ought to be modified as properly, however that requires going by means of the Worldwide Fee on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN).
I feel we must always simply go away the names as they’re. They replicate historical past and albeit, the opinion of 1 man (often) who did the naming. And, I think, most birdwatchers don’t have a clue as to who these persons are. (Is Sabine offensive to you – have you learnt who he’s?) Moreover the technical and moral points, each area information, e book, and guidelines goes to should be modified. And life-listers should not going to be comfortable to should make these modifications. These are individuals who gripe as a result of the Crimson-shafted and Yellow-shafted Sparkles received lumped into the Northern Flicker.
OK, I perceive the motivation and reasoning of those that wish to make these modifications. And there are many different areas of American society that may deserve these modifications – 1441 federally-recognized place-names comprise racist or sexist slurs. We’ve modified the names of sports activities groups however there are lots of of faculty buildings and faculty mascots that in all probability want altering.
However altering chook names? Is that actually crucial?
P.S. As I used to be scripting this weblog, considered one of my readers despatched me this remark:
“Really Adam named each animal on the planet In line with God’s Phrase in Genesis chapter 2 verse 18 -20.”
That may resolve this complete concern of naming……