CZ Talk:Biology Workgroup/Archive 1

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I suggest that most of the articles on specific organs and specific animals not be considered as top priority articles. There are just too many,DavidGoodman 23:17, 24 November 2006 (CST)

I think this is a good point. What level do you think we should attempt to cover with respect to animals; stopping at the level of mammal (as currently written in the zoology section)? Instead of all the plant hormones have one introductory article? Subcellular components are important enough to have their own artilces in my opinon. Why don't we start pruning down by striking out the ones we think are too general? At least this way we can see the updated list and easuily visualise what is being cut out. Chris Day (Talk) 03:35, 25 November 2006 (CST)
Since it will be considerably harder to edit the general articles, I've revised this to a mix, indicated in bold, taking into account t what the people here already have said the want to do, and having blocks of articles.Just a suggestion to think about. DavidGoodman 01:03, 26 November 2006 (CST)
David, is there a distinction between the italicized and bold articles in your last series of edits? Chris Day (Talk) 00:58, 27 November 2006 (CST)
Sorry, I had meant to change them all to bold, and have now done soDavidGoodman 16:54, 27 November 2006 (CST).

now all we need is writers

large intestine or colon/rectum?

After scanning this list, 3 words jumped out at me relating to the GI tract. While it is important to have articles when people type in Large Intestine and Small Intestine, I think it is important to add more anatomical words to these articles with links to the articles written on the colon, etc. I rarely think of the "large intestine," but which part of the colon has the problem. Post secondary education, how often do you use the word "large intestine?" I may be completely biased after many years of science education but I feel like people start using word like colon and rectum a lot earlier than we think. In general, general articles should be FULL of links to specific articles. General articles should be written at a lower reading level than anatomical articles, however, these general articles must contain links to more scientific articles relating to the issue. Don't underestimate the ability of readers to figure out what words mean, so try write articles at an easy to read, yet with advanced vocabulary (linked). User:Thomas E Kelly

Edit- I still use "large-" and "small intestine" weekly - I was exaggerating quite a bit. User:Thomas E Kelly
The large intestine article is actually linked adequately - however the writing is choppy User:Thomas E Kelly

"Partial list of potential editors"

I'm inclined to suggest that you delete that list of editors. Does it serve any purpose? --Larry Sanger 14:26, 15 December 2006 (CST)

It was copy and pasted from the old high priority article page. The purpose there was for people to hiughlight the articles with which they had expertise or had an interest in editing. Now the forums are up and running, i agree, it is probably less useful. Chris Day (Talk) 15:02, 15 December 2006 (CST)


In medical school we study microbiology as a subject before we dive into "systems." Microbiology includes Immunology (both the basics, but this is mainly a response to invasive micro organisms/microbials), Bacteriology, Virology, Mycology. I added this to the Draft Biology/draft page. However, the work group home page is above my "hacking" ability to edit. If someone else could edit this it would be great. I know that mycology can also fall under botany but in terms biological health science, it is a pathogen worth studying when studying microbiology. Or maybe there should be a page for Biology relating to Human Health linked on the biology page if these classifications are not appropriate for the main bio page. Discuss. I will not be on citizendium again until after finals. -Tom Kelly (Talk) 14:03, 16 December 2006 (CST)

The problem of overlapping sphere will always be a problem and something we should not worry about too much. With regards to the edit on this home page, are you wanting virology to be listed under microbiology instead of having its own section? Chris Day (Talk) 14:52, 16 December 2006 (CST)
I think it is usual to teach the general aspects as part of the microbiology course. But viruses are not organisms in the sense all the rest of biological objects are, from an evolutionary point of view they stand entirely outside the evolutionary tree. For that matter immunology is only part of microbiology for convenience of teaching--it is actually a part of physiology, or conceivably pathology. I'm not sure where we should best put it. DavidGoodman 23:36, 19 December 2006 (CST)
I remain unhappy with immunology as a part of microbiology, except in terms of its historical development. Though the immunochemistry of viral proteins and bacterial polysaccarides remains important in practical medicine, the even more important part is cellular immunology, with its implications for neoplasms.--and I do not see how that can possibly considered microb iology in any sense of the word. DavidGoodman 03:39, 1 January 2007 (CST)
I like this definition of microbiology - "The branch of biology that deals with microorganisms and their effects on other living organisms." (from However, I'd just go one step further and say their effects, including immunological response, on other living organisms. Viral toxin effects are just as important as the immune response stimulated by microorganisms. The only reason I put immunology in with microbiology in the first place is because some medical schools teach immunology when teaching microbiology. Open any medical microbiology text and you'll see a large immunology section. Every section on X type of microorganism talks about the immunological response. -Tom Kelly (Talk) 14:21, 13 January 2007 (CST)
I liked how the microbiology article is being subdivided in its links. For Medical microbiology, it is appropriate to have mycology, bacteriology, virology, and immunology included. I'd have to ask some microbiologist how they would classify it in a more general way. Take a look at my revision here and see what you think -

Also, how and the heck to you get items on the draft page put into the approved version? Sadly, I did like how fast one was able to edit wikis on wikipedia. I have a feeling that once we have a ton of approved articles, it will be hard to do little edits like adding links here and there. -Tom Kelly (Talk) 15:01, 21 December 2006 (CST)

I'd say just keep editing the draft version. Actually, if things go correctly, the draft version will often be more complete than the approved version. When to update is the question; how many changes before it is worthwhile? I'd suggest we all work on the Biology today, a survey of the science of life section and get it to be as good as it can be. So far it has had very little attention. In theory, however, we could update the biology aticle with your edit right now if you have made all the changes you think are needed. Chris Day (Talk) 15:41, 21 December 2006 (CST)

Use of radioactivity in biology

Dear Biologists, the chemists are working on a nuclear chemistry page at which an overview of all things radioactive is being written. I am aware that in modern biology that 32P is used in DNA work. PLease could one or more of the biologists visit the page and add some content about the use of radioisotopes (and stable isotope tracers) within modern biology.Mark Rust 03:37, 30 December 2006 (CST)

Key needed for Font in list of To-Do Articles

please make a key that explains what the Bold articles, regular font, and strike-through articles mean on the to-do list. -Tom Kelly (Talk) 20:50, 12 January 2007 (CST)

The basic list was the biology section of a list of basic articles from WP.
The bold ones should be the ones that are currently in our top priority category. Some were added here that were not in the original list.
The strikethroughs are the ones from the list that it was considered might well be deferred.

The initials were an approximate idea of interest from the early days: "the following people have simply declared their interest in various topics; such a declaration does not mean, in the slightest, that they are claiming control over an article." Some have been added since, but of course it still does not mean control.

The purpose of the list was to get some idea of what lay before us. All of this was just a way of getting started and anything desired can be changed or added or struck out. or changed to or from bold. (If you're doing that please also add or remove the category for top pritority in the live articles--I am not sure how consistent we've all been in indicating these changes). DavidGoodman 03:16, 13 January 2007 (CST)

Astrobiology and Mycology

Astrobiology is listed as a subfield of Biology. Others, however, think of it as a subfield of Astronomy. In fact, the major research in this field is done by astronomers.

I think Astrobiology is a so interdisciplinary Science that it does not fit under neither Astronomy or Biology, but as a full separate field. Currently, not only biologists and astronomers are doing pioneering work on the field, but also geologists, geophysicists, oceanographers, climatologists, even philosophers.

I also think that Fungus should not be under Botany, but under a separate subfield, Mycology.

Sairjohn 11:17, 26 January 2007 (CST)

Interesting points. With regard to astrobiology, i think you could probably say the same for biology. Basically cross school collaborations are the norm these days. Engineering, statistics, computer science, geology and oceanography are all intertwind with biology. I see no harm in it being in biology and astronomy. I would think creating another field might be unnecessary otherwise our top hierarchy becomes too broad.

With respect to mycology, it is there now since the traditional botany courses still cover that topic. Obviously from a phylogenetics perspective it is not a sensible fit. I have no problem breaking it out as its own discipline. Chris Day (Talk) 12:47, 26 January 2007 (CST)

Definitely mycology should not be a subfield of botany. Ian Ramjohn 13:08, 26 January 2007 (CST)
Bear in mind that that list we have on the biology workgroup homepage is not even close to complete. The bold are ones that rose to the top as important articles that CZ needs. Those that have been struck out are ones that are much less important. The goal of the list is not to be all inclusive but rather as a starting point for which to prioritize articles for CZ. The list hierarchy was just for convenience. Other users feel free to edit it in anyway they see fit.
The list was originally created before the top article category was created. We are probably better off using that category to identify the articles we consider important. and archive the current list here. Any thoughts? Chris Day (Talk) 13:19, 26 January 2007 (CST)

OK, I am understanding that this list was intended just as a draft, since there will not be categories in CZ.

By the way, I've done the preliminary work on the Astrobiology article. It is basically a cut-pasted-reordered edition from the NASA's Astrobiology Roadmap – but don't worry, it is not copyrighted, check it out here. Sairjohn 14:11, 27 January 2007 (CST)

You still need to cite the source though. Ian Ramjohn 16:32, 27 January 2007 (CST)

Goal. 5 main articles being edited. 5 new articles to do. Recruit new experts

"we need more work horses." I think I read that somewhere. I agree we need more editors. Here is what I suggest. I don't have time to write an article right now but I think there are experts out there who do have the time. We should think of 5 main articles that are currently being edited in "Hard" Biological Science and the next five most important articles to write. Then lets go recruit say 15-20 experts that are specialists in that field per article (so 10 times 15 is 150 new experts). If we recruit that many asking them to write X article, we should get a descent result. Your thoughts? -Tom Kelly (Talk) 20:43, 30 January 2007 (CST)

Naming issues

If we accept that scientific names should be applied to all article titles on biological organisms (barring certain exceptions), then perhaps it's time to move a few steps in that direction. Obviously, there are a few articles to rename (e.g. Snake => Serpentes, Tiger => Panthera tigris), but then I think it's also important that we come up with an effective way to prominently display the common names for these articles. The idea of simply mixing a few common names in with the article's introduction never seemed right to me, so I came up with one possible solution, which I've applied to Vipera berus for example. However, I think a new common names template would really be the way to go: something that we can easily be modify as better ideas for the presentation emerge. --Jaap Winius 13:38, 25 March 2007 (CDT)

This hasn't been decided yet. Before we start standardizing this, we really need to get the input of the Editorial Council, which should be starting quite soon. I think it's far more likely that either we will use common names with scientific names in parentheses, or else just common names. --Larry Sanger 14:06, 25 March 2007 (CDT)

Common names = not good way of doing things in my book. I don't know what I'd do if you only used common names. -Tom Kelly (Talk) 14:30, 25 March 2007 (CDT)
Jaap, you are going to ruin it for us if you decide to change animals names like tiger and snake. rare species are one thing, but I defintely wouldn't change tiger and snake. I now see Larry's point. -Tom Kelly (Talk) 14:32, 25 March 2007 (CDT)
I'm torn. If we adopt the dual naming system in the title, that should be fine. I would be ok with the scientific name going first as long as there are proper redirects. People will get a kick of seeing the scientific name bolded and the common name (which they already knew) in parenthesis. -Tom Kelly (Talk) 14:42, 25 March 2007 (CDT)

No need to panic -- I don't plan on doing anything on my own. I'd simply like to see movement on this issue, for the reasons I've mentioned in the forum, and have made some suggestions. From what has been said in the forum, it seemed to me that most are in favor of using scientific names. Of course, I could be wrong. Anyway, it looks like it's not up to anyone except the Editorial Council to decide on this issue. Should I be optimistic? --Jaap Winius 16:59, 25 March 2007 (CDT)

Who is on the editorial council? Is there a list of names anywhere? -Tom Kelly (Talk) 17:04, 25 March 2007 (CDT)
No, just three dozen "yes" e-mails in a folder. We've been waiting to get the new servers before we start new mailing we can...there's a good chance we can start it up this week. --Larry Sanger 17:40, 25 March 2007 (CDT)

Biology Editor Recruitment

Can we make an effort to recruit PhDs in Biology, Biochemistry? Would a mass email to university professors help? would it look bad? What about if we start with small universities where professors focus on teaching more than research. They might really enjoy having collaboration on CZ. What do you think? -Tom Kelly (Talk) 16:14, 4 April 2007 (CDT) -Tom Kelly (Talk) 16:16, 4 April 2007 (CDT)
I have a PhD in biochemistry, though given that I have precious little in terms of publications of my own under my belt, I am a bit hesitant regarding the editor function. Nonetheless, my chief work at my new job so far has been copyediting scientific publications for a non-profit journal published by our company to promote the field of research our instruments are used in. --Oliver Hauss 09:01, 1 June 2007 (CDT)

I am a publishing research biologist, and could put together an outline for the biology section. But that is a very broad and enormous task, and as such, I think we need to hook up with grad students, post-docs, and experts in each area to even get started. I could do the outline of the neuroscience section fairly easily.

But we should advertise our need for writers on the net. I think we need a much broader base of capable writers who can coordinate on such a large effort.

John Moffett 10:34, 1 June 2007 (EDT)

Editor wanted

Ok, maybe someone can help, but I think this article is good enough to be approved. If some editor canadd the Toapprove tag, and maybe someone else can approve it, that woyuld be great. Or let me know what is wrong with the article. Kim van der Linde 22:53, 26 August 2007 (CDT)

Approach to the biology workgroup

Hello all, I am an editor in Anthropology and we in the workgroup are attempting to build this area and approach the standards that are being reached by your workgroup. As many areas of anthropology overlap with biology (Primate taxonomy, anatomy and physiology, fossil species, biographies of well known scientists and evolution to name just a few), I feel that members of your group could assist us enormously in building the Anthropology heading as well as creating fertile cross links between our allied disciplines. I would appreciate if your editors and authors would take a few moments to visit our workgroup page where we are compiling a list of priority topics and sub-headings. I would imagine that many of you might find you already have ideas, stubs or even developed articles which you could insert into our wish list and make this aspect of CZ grow more rapidly and with a sounder biological base. Please feel free to write/edit away! Many thanks in advance! CZ:Anthropology Workgroup

Lee R. Berger 00:38, 13 September 2007 (CDT)

Naming of species again

I think we have to make a sound decision on how we are going to name pages of species. What do other think? Kim van der Linde 07:28, 13 September 2007 (CDT)

I'm still with the binomial system. Common names are just too variable. At least I assume you are posing the question common or latin? Or is there something else you are thinking about? For unambiguous common names i could see an exception. Chris Day (talk) 07:39, 13 September 2007 (CDT)
I am in favor of taxonomic names only, with redirects of common names to them. Even names like Cat (house cat, wild cat, cats in general?) are ambiguous at times. Kim van der Linde 08:28, 13 September 2007 (CDT)
Cat is definitely ambiguous. I was thinking that giraffe is probably not ambiguous, but even then I could be wrong. Chris Day (talk) 09:12, 13 September 2007 (CDT)
Probably true. The question is, where do you draw the line in specific cases? Kim van der Linde 09:25, 13 September 2007 (CDT)

Help needed with finding reference material

I have two problems finding sources I know exist:

1. I need to read the article Ain't Jus'Any Ole Dawgs by Dr. Sally Reed. Bloodlines Magazine Jan./Feb 1992.

I have attempted to e-mail the United Kennel Club (publisher) asking about reprints, but their servers reject my e-mail for whatever reason.

2. Prevailing thought about the way in which humans and dogs first came together changed at the very end of the 20th Century, from man domesticating dog to man and dog coming together with dogs being proactive, to ensure mutual survival. I absolutely remember a)There was a NY Times article in Science Times in the 1990s, and b) a National Geographic article early in the Millenium around 2002? but I can't find either one.

Help? Suggestions? Someone have access to a specialised library super search engine?

Aleta Curry 20:43, 23 September 2007 (CDT)

I just replied to this post in the forums. Chris Day (talk) 21:46, 23 September 2007 (CDT)
I saw that, Chris, it was very helpful. Did I thank you? Ta muchly! Aleta Curry 21:26, 26 September 2007 (CDT)
No thanks required, you did aknowledge my post which is good enough :) Did you find the article? Chris Day (talk) 21:32, 26 September 2007 (CDT)
No, but Rob King says he'll help. Aleta Curry 22:58, 26 September 2007 (CDT)
I check the libray here, but they do not have it. I do have access to many general science journals, so people can poke me for those. I did a quick search thriough that, and there is a lot of articles about domestication of dogs etc., I just do not have the time to check them all, so that was why I sugested that someone first checked them through for example google scholar. Kim van der Linde 07:00, 27 September 2007 (CDT)

Core articles

I'm not sure an alphabetical list is the best way to organise the core articles. Sorting by topic area seems to be much easier for identifying missing or redundant articles. Maybe the best thing is to indent and arrange the core topics similar to the high priority list or just continue with the high priority list? Chris Day (talk) 15:47, 25 September 2007 (CDT)

I find it difficult to define criteria for "more appropriate for health sciences". If biologists study and research a topic, it seems appropriate for consideration as a biology core topic. Seven of the first ten in this second column (acid-base physiology, arterial system, auditory system, blood, bone, capillary, endocrine system) do not seem more appropriate for health sciences than for biology. Acid-base disorders, arteriosclerosis, hearing deficits, blood dyscrasias, osteoporosis, sickle cell crisis, and endocrinopathies -- yes. Just an opinion. Let's not give away the store. --Anthony.Sebastian (Talk) 18:26, 27 September 2007 (CDT)

Anthony, we're not giving away the store, in fact, the opposite. We need to refine this list down to 200. Moving some to health sciences means that we get to have more on the core article page, not less. My only criteria was if the article was somewhat more physiological than others. Clearly they are all biology workgroup material too. Chris Day (talk) 18:36, 27 September 2007 (CDT)

Scientific names--Ghastly idea

May I humbly suggest that we nip this placing of species under their scientific names thing in the bud right now?

I understand that it is correct, but I also understand Citizendium policy to call for explanation, not a display of erudition.

No one but your learned selves is going to look up Barnardius zonarius when they want to find a ring-necked parrot. They'll probably key in "ringneck parrot".

And how on earth will any schoolchild/university student/casual browser ever find all the millions of plant species?

Canis lupus familiaris is quite sensibly listed at dog. Can we follow suit with all others?

Aleta Curry 19:20, 29 September 2007 (CDT)

Well, I disagree very much with this, because there is just one name that is univocal, and that is the scientific name. What about Cougar or Mountain Lion or Puma? Each latin name needs to have a redirect from the comon name, and if you search for Australian Ringneck or Port Lincoln Parrot or Mallee Ringneck or Cloncurry Parrot or Twenty Eight, you find it without a problem. Kim van der Linde 20:58, 29 September 2007 (CDT)
Aleta, you should read the forum discussion on this topic. I don't think you'll find as single biologist that supports common names except for some really obvious exceptions. Common names are a disaster with respect to nomenclature. The binomial names are as good as it gets if we want to have one unified home. With the help of redirects I don't see how this is a problem for readers and it stops dead all the aruguments over which common name takes priority. Chris Day (talk) 21:42, 29 September 2007 (CDT)
If I search for "Woof" should I expect to get Dog? --Robert W King 21:44, 29 September 2007 (CDT)
Possibly, is it used in the article?
If the latin name is used as the unambiguous name it does not make it harder to find such articles. Using a common name in a search will find the article since the common names will be listed in the first paragraph. Using go will take a reader directly to the article since redirects will be set up for every common name. Having an unambiguous name may well be erudite but is that not a good thing sometimes? Related articles and links in other articles can all use which ever common name they wish since all the links can be piped. Chris Day (talk) 21:52, 29 September 2007 (CDT)
Why not!Kim van der Linde 08:32, 30 September 2007 (CDT)

Well, it seems to me that encyclopaedias traditionally use common names and that makes sense to me. However, I'm not going to argue: Look, if you redirect from all the common names to the scientific name that will be fine. Although really, aren't you going to have to do a lot of redirects in any case, if we're going to get this right? Will you at least use the common name for families? At what level does one abandon the scientific name? What if one wants a general article on "parrot" etc.? What about bowerbird? Should it be dumped in favour of Ptilonorhynchus violaceus, since that's really the species I'm familiar with?. Are plants and animals named scientifically at different levels? "gardenia", "gardenia jasmonides", gardenia magniflora, "rubiacea". OMG!!! I shall go read the discussion thread, Chris, so don't bother to answer this if it's there.

For the record, though, I am NOT going to write Canis Lupus Familiaris var. Deutscher Schäferhund... x Deutscher Schäferhund?? :)

Aleta Curry 16:20, 30 September 2007 (CDT)

Well, I just read the Forum discussion and found the remarks by Nancy Sculerati to be the most reasonable. Where there is an unambiguous common name, the article should be called that with the Latin name in brackets. Additionally, I should add: Where there are different common nouns for the same thing, this has to be explained somewhere. Maybe it would be a disambiguation page, maybe some text. It is not enough to simply make links from common names to Latin names! This is an encyclopedia for non-experts, and it is they whose needs should be uppermost in our minds. This does not involve any compromise on quality, just some consideration for the end-user. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 16:32, 30 September 2007 (CDT)

This would have been my take on it, too, Martin, but I want to be sensitive to the biologists, who naturally want to get it right. (And you know how much I want things to be right!)
"Where there are different common nouns for the same thing, this has to be explained somewhere. Maybe it would be a disambiguation page, maybe some text." Hmmm...yes. Probably should be up to the writers on a case-by-case basis?
"This is an encyclopedia for non-experts, and it is they whose needs should be uppermost in our minds. This does not involve any compromise on quality, just some consideration for the end-user." I agree completely.
Aleta Curry 16:57, 30 September 2007 (CDT)
Above I wrote "I don't think you'll find as single biologist that supports common names except for some really obvious exceptions". I should make it clear that I meant when there is an unambiguous common name. Often there is not. As far as the disambiguation page is concerned I'm not sure this is the best plan. Isn't that the opposite of our problem? We have multiple names going to one page not one name going to multiple pages. I think the first paragraph can easily avoid confusion in conjunction with the redirects. When reading the firt paragraph for the Barnardius zonarius page, as a redirect from Australian Ringneck, it will be very obvious there is a nomenclature problem so no user should find it confusing. Chris Day (talk) 17:12, 30 September 2007 (CDT)
I am glad to read that the proposal is not as rigid as seemed. However, there remain two important points, as far as I have understood the situation. The first is that there will be many redirects from multiple popular names to the Latin name: it is vital that this is explained properly at the outset of the article, with something like an anti-disambiguation paragraph. The second case is where there are identical names for different things: how is this going to be solved? I presume, only by an article on the common name explaining that it means different species in different parts of the world. Then, it can link to a Latin name article. How does this sound? --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 17:29, 30 September 2007 (CDT)

Some thoughts:

Many names that we use casually such as Zebra do not refer to a single species, but to several species all belong to the genus Equus, but split over two subgenera:

  • Dolichohippus
    • Grevy's Zebra, Equus grevyi
  • Subgenus Hippotigris
    • Plains Zebra, Equus quagga
    • Cape Mountain Zebra, Equus zebra
    • Hartmann's Mountain Zebra, Equus hartmannae

Ok, I can go on it you like..... Kim van der Linde 17:35, 30 September 2007 (CDT)

Ah, yes, Kim, but that's the point. You need to make sure that Tit and Chicadee both link to parus major, but that hasn't solved it. What to call "parrot" is not going to be adequately solved simply by using the scientific name for each species of parrot. Birds are going to be a real problem. I fervently hope you will have artciles on all 500,000,000 species and variety of parrot all beautifully sorted by scientific name and cross-referenced to each and every common name, or vice versa--but that still doesn't sort it. The kid looking to do a report on "parrot" may or may not know whether she wants to include "cockatoo", but she will not look for one specific scientific name. If she does a search for parrot and gets something like this

Graydidascalus brachyurus (2,296 bytes)
4: | name = Short-tailed Parrot
32: ...hylogeny of Amazona: implications for Neotropical parrot biogeography, taxonomy, and conservation. Mol. P...
Alipiopsitta xanthops (3,579 bytes)3: | name = Yellow-faced Parrot 21: The monotypic Yellow-faced Parrot (Alipiopsitta xanthops) is the only specie... 22: ...n|id=ISBN 0-7153-7698-5}}</ref> This semi-nomadic parrot is found at the cerrado in low numbers and is... 25: ...cies is much closer related to the Short-tailed Parrot (Graydidascalus brachyurus) and to the ... 26: ...geny of Amazona: implications for Neotropical parrot biogeography, taxonomy, and conservation. Mol. P...
Barnardius zonarius (7,657 bytes)32: ...istorical biogeography of
which is what I just got, you haven't helped the poor kid very much. The only article that would, as at the present, is Ara autocthones because that actually links parrot.
I'm afraid it's a hook you fellows are just going to have to wiggle on until it's sorted.
Is the solution to have generic family/group articles? Parrot, Rose, Gardenia, Ferns...
Is the solution to have indices? Subpages on bird nomenclature? Bird--Subpage Index of Scientific names? Bird subpage index of common names? Bird Family Groups?. What birds are called? I don't know.
Also, we've still got the problem of domestic animals. Poodle is Canis Lupus Familiaris. So is Kooikerhondje. So is dog. Which reminds me--the dog article should probably say something about canis familiaris now being called canis lupus familiaris--not sure it does. But I digress. I think we'll have the same thing with cow? And sure, we can separate horse and donkey by scientific name but not thoroughbred and Australian Stock Horse.
So, what's the solution? Exempt domestic animals--agricultural and pets--from the nomenclature? I don't know.
Okay, I'll go away now...
Aleta Curry 04:24, 1 October 2007 (CDT)

Probably because I am not a biologist, I don't share the grumbling and misery-inducing approach which seems to prevail here on the above points. As a social scientist, I actually find it INTERESTING that there is real confusion about what names mean. So, if I look up "Parrot", I will be really pleased to find that there are two families with distinct characteristics and for some reason [can you tell us what it is?] we have only one name for them! I repeat my previous opinion, that CZ is for non-experts to use and it is with that in mind that the structure and presentations must be made. Of course, I am sure it is not easy: in all technical subjects, explaining complex and often incoherent topics to a non-expert is a real challenge. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

Let's realise that Barnardius zonarius is a slightly different example to Parrot. In the former case there are multiple common names for one thing. In the latter there is one common name for multiple things. So in this latter example a disambiguation type page with a a historical perspective of the name usage makes sense. Chris Day (talk) 06:04, 1 October 2007 (CDT)

Aleta, there are at the moment two issues. One is that CZ is largely lacking in many many articles. With the current way of how CZ is run, I am not going to make a big dent in things, because I hope things are going to turn for the better, but I fear it is just a failed project. The second reason is that there is no clarity about what to do with the naming. For the second, I am very happy you stirred the pot, and lets see what we can do.

There is only one system that is unambiguous, and that is latin scientific names. It is designed for that. So, I personally think that using those as the primary handle for articles is the best. To me, whether that is a "Barnardius zonarius" or "Barnardius zonarius (Australian Ringneck)" is not a major issue, more on this below.

My proposal:


  1. Each species or higher taxon, except exceptions below, are to be written under their official scientific name. If there is a single established common name, that name is included in the title between parenthesis. (e.g. "Barnardius zonarius (Australian Ringneck)").
  2. Groups that are included in the "Latin name (Common name)" system are birds (offcial names) and mammals (the single authoritative source for mammal names). Other groups will be added if a single authoritative source has been established.
  3. All domesticated species are created under "Domesticated .....". These are most of the time subspecies of the wild species.
  4. Subspecies and specific populations are included in the article of the species, unless they warrant a full article by themselves due to the amount of subspecies specific information.
  5. All common names are created as redirects to the main article. All scientific synonyms are created as redirects to the main article. In case of the "Latin name (Common name)" scheme, the the main scientific name is also created as a redirect.

Kim van der Linde 10:49, 1 October 2007 (CDT)

Okay, here's my take.
  1. Works for me, given 4.
  2. I think is reasonable, but why not include fish, insects and reptiles in this as well? Is it because there is not official source for scientific names, or is it a problem with the common names?
  3. is fine I think. Question: leave "dog" and "horse" etc. as they are, or move to "domesticated dog" etc.
  4. Yes, makes sense. We have cow (or cattle), and we include beef cattle and dairy cattle in that article, unless there's so much to be said that they have to be separated. Then Poll Hereford, Guernsey, etc. are included as sections in the beef/dairy articles, or their own separate articles if warranted. But I need some help. I'm not sure I know what a subspecies is, properly. I think my confusion is because as said above, sometimes the common name is a species and sometimes not. Domestic breeds are considered what, scientifically? (if anything) Specific populations? Varieties? It seems to me that plant species are more clear than animal species in this regard. So we just write chihuahua or come to think of it that one should perhaps be chihuahua (dog). Anyway, the reason I asked about varieties is because there are all sorts of arguments in the dog world, like are Papillons and Phalenes different breeds or variants of the same breed. I'm assuming biologists don't care about such matters?
  5. Yes, that will be vital.
Aleta Curry 16:54, 1 October 2007 (CDT)
Ok, lets see.
  1. We agree, that is good.
  2. Scientific names are not an issue, it is the variability of the common names. There are no lists of common names for those other groups. Maybe there are some lists for butterflies and related or so, but I am not aware of them. When they become available, they can be added.
  3. I would say that anything that is unambiguous can stay, so maybe Horse can stay, but officially, it is reserved for the tarpan, domesticated and prezwalski horse together. Similar issues for dog. So, I think to have no issues, move them. Cow for example is used for females of various species, the official name would be cattle, which seems to be fine. I think there is no objection to have a list of exceptions and their names, in which we have some freedom to deviate.
  4. Breeds are all considered the same subspecies. Just think about the Gray Wolf and the domestic dog, they are subspecies. The various breeds can be covered under their own name. Breeds of domesticated animals is a whole other topic. Personally, I would cover them briefly under the species, and have multiple subpages for each of them. Chihuahua is a state in Mexico, so having an identifier of type might be handy. But you are right, in general, we do not care to much about the delineation of the various breeds etc.
  5. Indeed.
Kim van der Linde 19:03, 1 October 2007 (CDT)

I have no time to contribute (again) to the debate, and I will be comfortable with whatever the biologists decide. I would like to make it as easy as possible for schoolchildren to find a good article about lions, and birdwatchers to find articles about a species, without having to know in advance (!!!) what the scientific name is. Finding out what the scientific name is is what you use a reference to do. But I am sure you can produce a good solution to this problem.

We will need someone, a biology editor, to actually place the policy on a CZ: namespace page, and take a poll of other active biology editors. And then we need to start a Biology Workgroup initiative that systematically goes through our articles about species and larger classifications of life forms to make sure that they are titled in accordance with the newly-settled policy. I can't do that for you because I lack the time. So I'm asking you, biologists, to take the initiative! --Larry Sanger 11:13, 2 October 2007 (CDT)

Larry, have you ever tried to find the Australian Ringneck directly, what you will find is the appropriate page, because redirects make it possible to find a species using any name. Kim van der Linde 17:13, 2 October 2007 (CDT)


Classification systems are a perennial problem. It is obvious that all major common names, and the scientific names need to be included on pages about specific species for completeness. The various phylogenetic subdivisions should of course be noted. Page titles seem to be the issue here. Page titles should probably be the most accepted common name, but that will be difficult to determine in many cases. Nonetheless, because most users will not be zoologists, common names should be the main titles.

I would like to step back from this specific issue, and ask if it would not be useful to have a current phylogenetic tree as one way to access the species database? I realize this would require additional work, but a pictorial tree with links to “Phylum”, “Class” “Order” “Species” etc. articles at the nodes would be very useful. --John Moffett 16:21, 2 October 2007 (EDT)

Hummm, IF you can tell what the most accepted common name is in all cases, I am very very happy to accept you as the common name guru. :worship smiley.
Each common name is a redirect to the page, so, the non-zoologist can ALWAYS find the species under their own preferred name, unless that name is obscure and missed, after which it can be added without a problem. So, it is a fallacy to say that because of the usage of the Latin name, the user cannot find his or her pet species. It avoids a lot of fighting about what exactly the most common name is. (having gone through that several times on wikipedia, with move wars etc included).
Taxoboxes are doing exactly that what you suggest, they lead you through the different taxonomic layers. Please see for an example (the ONLY approved article about a species) Barnardius zonarius, or if you like to use one of the various common names, Australian Ringneck, Port Lincoln Parrot, Port Lincoln Ringneck, Twenty Eight, Mallee Ringneck, Cloncurry Parrot. Kim van der Linde 17:13, 2 October 2007 (CDT)
I second Kim's comments, especially the bit about the fallacy. Almost all readers will arrive at an article via a redirect there is absolutely no need for CZ readers to know the latin name before initiating their search.
Trying to decide which is the most common, common name will bring us huge problems in the future. Going with the scientific name will solve most of the problems. Sure, it's a bit intimidating, but why can't we raise the bar high and get our readers to acknowledge that there is ONE unambiguous name despite the myriad of common names.
True, some people will think it is erudite, but even a small amount of thought should be enough to convince readers that a comprehensive survey of life requires this approach. If this is really a problem (intimidation factor) we could always have a disclaimer for those incredulous that we use a scientific approach to taxonomy. I am sure a well written essay on the topic will sway most skeptics.
I'm sensing in this discussion that we are splitting down the middle, those with a science background and those with a more general interest in the articles. I wonder if there is room for a more scientific approach alongside more general user friendly articles on the zoo and domestic type animals? Chris Day (talk) 17:23, 2 October 2007 (CDT)
Yes, Chris, isn't that what Kim and I were trying to come up with above? (...a more scientific approach alongside more general user friendly articles on the zoo and domestic type animals?) That's certainly where I want to go with it, anyway.
Re: "I'm sensing in this discussion that we are splitting down the middle, those with a science background and those with a more general interest in the articles." Well, yeah, probably, but I need to emphasize that it's not that we're not understanding your logic. Using common names is problematic. More than that, it's inaccurate and a headache for biologists. I get it, I get. The point the non-biologists are making is that, even though you've got a top point, it's still going to be a problem for others.
Redirects from common names will absolutely work, if they're used consistently. My concern is that biologists writing about Familius Genus Speciatus var. Subspeciatus Specialistus will forget to put a redirect at Lesser Green Spotted Australasian Sea Snail.
Regardless of what naming convention is used for the species articles, we will simply have to have "main" articles on large species (I mean species that form large groups, like Maples). I'm sorry, I don't know all the taxons so I'm struggling to put this point across, but sometimes the common name only takes into account say, a species, sometimes the common name is a genus, sometimes a family--am I getting my point across?
My fear is that the biologists will become frustrated with having to have Acer Palmatum var. Dessicata (I probably have that wrong) and also have "Maple". Okay, I need to come up with a more intricate one, but of course I'm drawing a blank but you get the drift.
Aleta Curry 17:57, 2 October 2007 (CDT)
Quick comment, I know you understand our logic, its a philosophical difference as far as I see. I also think its best to embrace both ideas; no reason not to have two articles one more popular the other morescientific. Chris Day (talk) 20:04, 2 October 2007 (CDT)

Another constraint to keep in mind. Many people will not see our articles about, e.g., zoo animals if we don't use the common names somehow in some spiderable title. For this reason, if we don't use a common name in the title of the article itself, it might be a good idea to use a disambiguation page, or a page that discusses the meaning of the common name, with a very prominent link to the main article.

And finally this constraint I would impose as a general rule: the articles about zoo animals and other common species are mainly written not for scientists and specialists, but for reg'lar folks. Keep our audiences in mind, that's all.

These constraints I stipulate, well, they are not absolutes. They are my suggestions. I leave this in the hands of you biologists. --Larry Sanger 19:09, 2 October 2007 (CDT)

"I leave this in the hands of you biologists." - There's your problem right there. :) Chris Day (talk) 20:04, 2 October 2007 (CDT)

Re number of articles

To answer one of Kim's earlier comments without splitting his post: I do see that the small number of articles seems a concern at the moment, but to me this isn't really a very great problem. The thing to do is to have a practical system in place for when we do have more articles. I think we just have to accept the fact that due to CZ's very nature, it will grow slowly. Aleta Curry 17:30, 1 October 2007 (CDT)

Perish the thought. Aleta, within a year or two, CZ is going to be growing very quickly indeed, for a whole host of reasons, but perhaps the most important is that it will become increasingly accepted that CZ is a going concern and that it has a better model of content production that Wikipedia. There are a lot of people who have sat on the sidelines because they aren't yet convinced that CZ is going anywhere. This is going to change--and when it does, look out. We need to make sure the community and system is prepared for that growth. --Larry Sanger 11:17, 2 October 2007 (CDT)

Material on individual animals is among the more reliable facets of Wikipedia. We have a number of articles listed at Category:Biology External Articles that could be rapidly developed. DavidGoodman 11:36, 2 October 2007 (CDT)

Domesticated species

Ok, I think it is tme to deal with the domestic species exceptions. This is a basic list of domestic species: Cattle, horse, dog, cat, donkey. Lets make first this list complete before talking about exceptions. Kim van der Linde 21:49, 2 October 2007 (CDT)

Okay, good. How about poultry (duck, chicken, geese), sheep, goat, pidgeon?
What of species in animal fancy? Fish: Like goldfish, koi and guppies aren't really domesticated, but I haven't a clue to their scientific names, except that goldfish are carp. How about fish raised domestically for human consumption? Include? Leave out? Pheasants and peafowl, Guinea pigs are called cavies in the show ring (yes, people show guinea pigs, and also rats).
Aleta Curry 23:52, 2 October 2007 (CDT)

Approval request

It is I again, biologists.

Could I persuade someone to review Rottweiler with a view to nominating it for first approval?

Thanks! Aleta Curry 17:21, 11 October 2007 (CDT)

Naming, Part II--Plants

Okay, I thought I was getting a handle on this, and we'd reached a bit of understanding and consistency with articles like parrot and maple for common names. If I want to write Japanese Maple, I would start the article at Acer palmatum as the main article and place a redirect at Japanese Maple, yes?

Now we have turnip. Can you see my comments at Talk:Turnip?

Thanks! Aleta Curry 22:39, 14 October 2007 (CDT)

I replied at turnip, also with regard to Japanese maple is A. palmatum really the only species called Japanese maple? What of Acer japonicum? I think in this case you have an example of a common name being an umbrella for many species. In such cases a disambiguation page or a general article would be appropriate, although a redirect would work in the short term. The redirects of common names to a latin name would be the case when those common names are used for no other species, IMO. Chris Day (talk) 23:37, 14 October 2007 (CDT)
"The redirects of common names to a latin name would be the case when those common names are used for no other species, IMO." Yes, I agree, and that is the case here according to my books. AFAIK, Chris, the A. palmatum, really *is* the only species called "Japanese Maple", but when I say "species"--I mean, there are literally thousands of A.Palmatum varieties (by the way are "variety" and "cultivar" synonymous? Anyway, why this should be when Acer Japonica and Acer Nipponicum exist as well, and hundreds of acers, if not thousands, actualy originate in Japan, is quite beyond me. Having said that, I will bet you money that the ordinary garderner, taking a quick look at an A. Japonica could certainly refer to it as "Japanese Maple". Maybe an entry at Acer palmatum could explain all that?
Would having the maple species as subpages in the maple cluster help, or make things worse?
Aleta Curry 16:36, 15 October 2007 (CDT)
First, if A.palmatum is really the only Janpanese Maple, I think you are right that there will be confusion with the other species among lay people. So certainly some kind of clarification should be made in the article.
Wouldn't a catalog, rather than subpages, be the answer to the many varieties? As far as cultivar and variety are concerned a horiculturist is the best bet for an accurate answer. I'm not one. If there is a difference it is subtle. Chris Day (talk) 17:38, 15 October 2007 (CDT)
Okay, I'm giving it a go. Aleta Curry 17:58, 15 October 2007 (CDT)

Sorry, back again.

I was about to "move" my local little orchid from its common name (it's the only common name) to its scientific name. The reason I created it at its common name was because the MOVE would automatically create a redirect, and I created it without subpages, because moving a cluster causes a mess, right?

Okay. I see on my watchlist that Kim has taken out the naming convention blurb from the workgroup page. So first question, are we back to square one on this?

I'm also still trying to figure out what to do with the humble turnip. Chris left some very good suggestions at the talk:turnip page. Now I take a deep breath and skip down to the other discussion. Aleta Curry 16:52, 25 October 2007 (CDT)

Regarding articles on species

Eventually, it would seem, we will have to consider the implications for CZ of the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) site: They plan a page for every known species of life on earth, each page with images, text, links, maps, and perhaps videos. They say:

Comprehensive, collaborative, ever-growing, and personalized, the Encyclopedia of Life is an ecosystem of websites that makes all key information about life on Earth accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. Our goal is to create a constantly evolving encyclopedia that lives on the Internet, with contributions from scientists and amateurs alike. To transform the science of biology, and inspire a new generation of scientists, by aggregating all known data about every living species. And ultimately, to increase our collective understanding of life on Earth, and safeguard the richest possible spectrum of biodiversity.

Some of their demo pages (they have yet to fully launch the site) already cite Wikipedia as contributing source material. Because they allow contributors (wiki-mode) perhaps when we have a developed article on a species, we should add our material as appropriate to the appropriate page in EOL to give CZ credit as contributing source material. And link their page to our article.

Thoughts? --Anthony.Sebastian (Talk) 15:01, 15 October 2007 (CDT)

Sounds good to me. Certainly if we build up our species we will have matrerial to offer them, even if just starter pages. Would also be good to advertise CZ in EOL. Chris Day (talk) 17:40, 15 October 2007 (CDT)

Another approval request

This seems like a weird article to ask a approval for, but I think this is just what needs to be in the article, and it clarifies the issue at hand. It is Parrot. Let me know what you think about it..... ;-) Kim van der Linde 21:04, 15 October 2007 (CDT)

Hey! No jumping the queue!Aleta Curry 23:02, 15 October 2007 (CDT)

Can someone identify this species?

Two crane flies reproducing.jpg
--Robert W King 15:29, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
They belong to one of three families: Tipulidae, Cylindrotomidae or Limoniidae, commonly called Crane fly, see Kim van der Linde 15:34, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
Good, at least now I can rename it to reflect what it is! Thanks much. --Robert W King 15:35, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
AKA Daddy Long Legs. Chris Day (talk) 16:48, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
Daddy Long Legs don't have wings? --Robert W King 18:20, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
Are you trying to tell me that those insects in the picture don't have wings? The bottom one looks like it has wings. Can't really tell looking at the top one. Chris Day (talk) 18:57, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
Where I come from, Daddy Long Legs are a type of spider: flickr photo. --Joe Quick 19:03, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
Where I come from that is called a money or harvest spider. Chris Day (talk) 19:27, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
A money spider? Like does he dispense cash? --Robert W King 19:28, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
Only in your dreams. Chris Day (talk) 19:39, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
It is not a daddy long leg! Kim van der Linde 19:04, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
I knew that they weren't; I'm confused as to why Chris said "AKA Daddy Long Legs". --Robert W King 19:22, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
Looks just like what i would call a daddy long legs. Chris Day (talk) 19:25, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
I was partically wrong, it seems that some use daddy long leg also for this species, so, this is an perfect example where common names screw up the clarity. Kim van der Linde 19:33, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
Bingo. Chris Day (talk) 19:40, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
Oh, don't get me started!' I've just had a long real-life session on gardening on plant names and their changes--scientific names, I mean, so it's not only the common names that "screw up the clarity" really, it isn't. Aleta Curry 21:44, 18 October 2007 (CDT)
It is true they change as more phylogeneetic information is discovered but there is only one name at any one time. That is the difference compared with common names. Or are you saying that in gardening there are multiple offical names in play at once. If so, that is very unscientific . Chris Day (talk) 00:50, 19 October 2007 (CDT)
Sorry, Chris-just seeing this. I think usually it's the first, and maybe because of that there are groups of people calling the plant by different names until the new name takes over. *But* there are cases where some people group it in with one genus, and some with another, so part of the name is different, and where some things are given two completely different scientific names in a book. Whose "fault" that is, I couldn't tell you, but I don't think gardeners are ever hampered by logic! Aleta Curry 16:10, 25 October 2007 (CDT)


...Look what was under the laundry basket just now! Trapped it in a rag--which didn't help,


you should have heard me squeal. The only good news was that it seemed just as scared of me...what is it, and can it hurt a) people b) pets c) plants? It's about 2 1/2 inches long. Aleta Curry 00:04, 19 October 2007 (CDT)

In the UK we call these mummy-short-legs ;) Chris Day (talk) 00:17, 19 October 2007 (CDT)
Smart-ass! I know it's a pede, I just don't know which one, and if it's the biting kind or not! Aleta Curry 00:32, 19 October 2007 (CDT)
I count 18 legs on each side. That makes it a thirtysix-pede. :-)
One pair of legs per body segment makes it a centipede rather than a millipede, so it's a carnivore with poison glands and fangs instead of an herbivore without them. I suppose that makes it more likely to bite, but I dunno about the species and its particular disposition... -- Joe Quick 01:02, 19 October 2007 (CDT)
LOL, this is a centipede, herbivore and generally harmless. Millipedes are the poisonous carnivores. Besides the one pair of legs versus two pairs of legs, centipedes are generally flat, with the legs sticking out to the side, while millipedes are round and have their legs under them. Kim van der Linde 06:36, 19 October 2007 (CDT)
Okay, so I was 1 for 2. Identified it correctly but got the poisonous bit around backwards... --Joe Quick 12:27, 19 October 2007 (CDT)
I know it was of great shock to you Alexa, but I wished you had taken closer in, less blurry pictures. Accuracy is paramount when photograhing nature (even out of place)! See
Cockroach One.jpg
 ;) --Robert W King 15:38, 19 October 2007 (CDT)
My dear fellow--do you know how fast that creature was moving?! I couldn't believe its speed. It didn't exactly stand still and pose for the picture! First it dashed under a leaf, then it got under the front door--dangerous arthropod in the house--I think NOT! When I got it out with the rag, trying not to hurt it, it finally got away into a crevice at the bottom of the wall. Guess it must like being in the dark....
Kim, so much for WP, which says exactly the opposite, that this is indeed a centipede but that it's venemous, and millipedes are the harmless ones.
p.s. Rob, we've got all sorts of bugs here--you're welcome to come over and photograph to your heart's content. Shudder! I'd sooner face a rhino...
Aleta Curry 16:48, 19 October 2007 (CDT)
Shoot, than I was wrong. My bad, I will now go to a parallel universe and flog myself over this stupidity. Mea culpa also to Joe! Kim van der Linde 17:01, 19 October 2007 (CDT)
That's all right; I didn't go pick it up and play with it! Honestly, if I weren't so scared of creepy crawlies, I'd find them fascinating. Actually, I find them facinating anyway,no wonder people study they're amazing. Aleta Curry 17:21, 19 October 2007 (CDT)

Naming (yes, again, sorry)

Chris said,

"It is true they (scientific names) change as more phylogeneetic information is discovered but there is only one name at any one time. That is the difference compared with common names."

Okay, then I read something like this: (this all stems [no pun intended] from trying to figure out to do with brassica rapa, the turnip)

Brassica rapa is a plant widely cultivated as a leaf vegetable, a root vegetable, and an oilseed.

Cultivar groups

Cultivated varieties of Brassica rapa include:

  • Bok choy (chinensis group)
  • Mizuna (nipposinica group)
  • Aburana (nippo-oleifera group)
  • Flowering cabbage (parachinensis group)
  • Chinese cabbage (pekinensis group)
  • Turnip (rapa group)
  • Rapini (ruvo group)
  • Tatsoi
  • Komatsuna

so I start looking them up and get this:

Rapini (also known as Broccoli Rabe (or Raab), Broccoletti, Broccoli di Rape, Cime di Rapa, Rappi, Friarielli (in Naples), and Grelos) is a common vegetable in Chinese and Italian cuisine. The plant has various scientific classification designations (emphasis added), including Brassica rapa ruvo, Brassica rapa rapifera, Brassica ruvo, Brassica campestris ruvo, and Brassica rapa rapa (a name normally assigned to the turnip).

and if you look up bok choi (one of my absolute fave leafy greens, apropos of nothing) you get this:

There are two distinctly different groups of Brassica rapa used as leaf vegetables in China, and a wide range of varieties within these two groups. The binomial name B. campestris is also used.

So I absolutely lose it. Not in the sense of being angry with anyone; in the sense of being completely confused.

Aleta Curry 17:05, 25 October 2007 (CDT)

This subject is becoming a little fragmented on the various species pages, but a point i made somewhere as you noted above is that scientific names can and do change as we collect more data about the genetic relationships between species. The USDA database includes many of the synonyms that are no longer officially used. I have compiled the USDA data into a table below. It is possible that they are still used but that does not mean they are accepted. Chris Day (talk) 23:29, 25 October 2007 (CDT)

published name common names Synonyms
Species Brassica rapa bird's rape, birdsrape mustard, field mustard, wild mustard, wild rutabaga, wild turnip
Variety Brassica rapa var. amplexicaulis Tanaka & Ono field mustard, rape, rape mustard Brassica pe-tsai L. H. Bailey

Brassica pekinensis (Lour.) Rupr.

Variety Brassica rapa var. dichotoma (Roxb. ex Fleming) Kitam. toria Brassica campestris L. ssp. napus Duthie & Fuller

Brassica campestris L. var. dichotoma (Roxb.) G. Watt

Variety Brassica rapa var. rapa L. birdrape, common mustard, field mustard, rape Brassica campestris L.

Brassica campestris L. ssp. rapifera (Metzger) Sinsk.

Brassica campestris L. var. rapa (L.) Hartman

Brassica rapa L. ssp. campestris (L.) Clapham

Brassica rapa L. ssp. olifera DC.

Brassica rapa L. ssp. sylvestris Janchen

Brassica rapa L. var. campestris (L.) W.D.J. Koch

Caulanthus sulfureus Payson

Variety Brassica rapa var. silvestris (Lam.) Briggs colza Brassica campestris L. var. oleifera DC.

Brassica rapa L. var. oleifera DC.

Variety Brassica rapa var. trilocularis (Roxb.) Kitam. yellow sarson Brassica trilocularis (Roxb.) Hook. f. & Thomson
Subspecies Brassica rapa ssp. rapa L. rape mustard Brassica rapa L. ssp. rapifera Metzger
Subspecies Brassica rapa ssp. sarson (Prain) Denford brown sarson Brassica campestris L. var. sarson Prain

By the way I am not saying the above is complete, it is exactly what the USDA has on their site. They mention other common names such as wild rutabaga, but only under the species entry (i just added their species level entry at the top). All the information in the table above i gathered from the subspecies and variety pages. Another apparently absent from this list is the ruvo variety you mentioned above. It might be another synonym or more likely its own species. The USDA site has a Brassica ruvo. Chris Day (talk) 23:42, 25 October 2007 (CDT)

Another source which will confuse you even more is here. I'd suggest that there is still an ongoing debate on this topic within the scientific community. The reason i mention this site is they do a much better job of tracking the common names (click on the blue links). You can find the rapa group example here. One thing of interest is that the authorative names differ from the USDA site. I'm not sure how up-to-date this Australian site is though, I'm pretty sure the USDA site is udated on a regular basis. Chris Day (talk) 00:03, 26 October 2007 (CDT)

Naming plea

I sent a query to cz-biology, since replied to, about the renaming of various species articles (apparently already underway in its own 'workgroup'). Though article names with the common version first could work, in my view names like Ailuropoda melanoleuca (Giant Panda) send clear signals to anyone contemplating clicking on such a link: this is a scientific, technical article on one specific species, covering its biology and evolution in some detail. Whereas, in fact, it's an introduction for non-specialists. Furthermore, if I as a reader were unaware of this use of Latin, I might even think that it's an article in a foreign language, or on some other subject altogether. Best have Latin at the forefront only in cases where there's no English name. Basically I'm just asking you to bear in mind who the readership is. John Stephenson 02:52, 26 October 2007 (CDT)

Well I'm all for raising the bar high for our readers. Kids memorise latin names of dinosaurs so why would they have no interest in these names for other animals? Most people will click on a hyperlink that says Panda or Giant Panda, I'm betting they don't even read the title. If there was going to be some index somewhere I might consider the common name title to be a little more important but there is no real idex here. Even less so than wikipedia since we are not using categories. Chris Day (talk) 02:59, 26 October 2007 (CDT)
Those dinosaur names have become the common names, though, so it would obviously be fine to use them. I think once you have renamed the articles with Latin at the forefront the names will show up in Google and possibly drive people away (maybe to you-know-where). Or at least give them the wrong impression. I think we can leave strict accuracy to that Encyclopedia of Life project or other wikis with rules like Scholarpedia's. By the way, I'm assuming you haven't adopted a policy yet - in which cases the renaming of some articles, such as Ailuropoda melanoleuca (Giant Panda), might be premature? John Stephenson 03:13, 26 October 2007 (CDT)
Clearly this policy is in flux. That's a good point with respect to google would this hurt our searchability and findability in search engines? I don't think renaming it was premature, we had come to a decision an no one esle chimed in. Moving the article has led to the initiation of round two of the discussion, it would not have happened without action of moving it. Chris Day (talk) 03:30, 26 October 2007 (CDT)
Kids memorise latin names of dinosaurs because common names for them are nearly nonexistent in everyday language. That doesn't hold true for those species which live and breathe around us. Who, searching for information on dogs, will look under Canis lupus familiaris? The fact that one might find it through a search is no real argument. The key, in my eyes, is user-friendliness. How many people will really click on a hyperlink, and how many will enter "Giant Panda" in the searchbox on the left? --Oliver Hauss 03:15, 26 October 2007 (CDT)
If you type in Giant Panda in the search box, you end nicely at the correct page. Try it. Kim van der Linde 03:17, 26 October 2007 (CDT)
This keeps coming up in this argument. Before we discuss this seriously we must make sure everyone is on the same page. The articles can be found easily. It is debatable that anyone will even see the titles since they will click on a common name hyperlink, such as panda, black lemur or Yellow-faced Parrot and they will arrive at the expected article and the wording in the article is using the common name. The heart of this proposal is not to try and confuse but to educate and at the same time allow every species to have it own unambiguous home. Chris Day (talk) 03:24, 26 October 2007 (CDT)
I end up on the correct page because someone bothered to create a redirect. All it takes is someone NOT bothering to do so, or rather, forgetting to do so, to have the result I mentioned. Anyone who knows the term "canis lupus" knows he's searching for the common dog. So in fact, he has the advantage that instead of having to type two five-letter words, he only has to type three letters. Conversely, throw "canis lupus" at someone not familiar with latin systematics, and he'll have trouble recognizing what you're talking about. @Chris: Your claim that people will click on common name hyperlinks is not realistic. They can only click on hyperlinks once they are on an article page. They have to get there somehow. That's the entry bar. If you insist on raising that, you insist on reducing the number of readers. You cannot hope to educate if you discourage people from listening to you in the first place. You have to pick people up where they are, not where you'd like to have them -if they'd already be there, what would be the need for educating them? We're seriously risking connotations of ivory tower detachment from the needs of the general population here, in my eyes. --Oliver Hauss 06:07, 26 October 2007 (CDT)
The whole point of the proposal was to redirect all the common names to the unambiguous page. This has nothing to do with an ivory tower but rather an attempt to prevent the petty squabbling over article names that happens all the time at wikipedia and is a huge time sink.
It is incorrect to say that the reader will not find an article with the entry bar if there are no common name redirects. I just deleted the redirct from Giant Panda. Try entering it into the entry bar and you'll see that the article is found since the common name is used throughout the article and in the articles name. The real question is would readers prefer the convenience of going directly to the page or not? I think that is obvious and from the start the proposal has been to have redirects from all common names. Of course, it is always possible that one or more of the common names will not be redirected to the page and no doubt some authors will forget, but that is true for articles with common names too. What if someone forgot to add Panda or Panda Bear as redirects to Giant Panda? No big deal as far as I can see.
The google issue that John mentions above is a more interesting critique from my perspective since here we are dealing with a fear factor. Readers might see the latin name in the title and gravitate towards other choices that use the common name only. Chris Day (talk) 07:37, 26 October 2007 (CDT)
Oliver, this is already happening. Giant Panda did not have any redirect pointing at them, and still, the scientific name is absent. Suppose I am a non-english speaker, and I only know the Dutch name, Grote Panda, I have no way to find it, only the latin name will help me. With species, the completeness in redirects to the main article is a major issue, regardless what name we choose. Have a look here: Special:Whatlinkshere/Ailuropoda_melanoleuca_(Giant_Panda) to see which redirects do exist. Google is not a problem, google finds actually the redirect pages, and displays that title first. Kim van der Linde 10:15, 26 October 2007 (CDT)

Policy draft

Could those who want the common name system draft here a coherent policy on the naming, PLEASE! Kim van der Linde 12:14, 26 October 2007 (CDT)


Proposal for Citizendium Species identification and article naming:

I propose that we try to settle the name issue and move on if possible by suggesting the following categorical naming system:

1. Primary common name

a. scientific name (in parentheses)
b. other common names (and countries of usage)
c. subspecies and varieties
d. location in phylogenetic tree
e. disputes over name or classification, if present.

Where no common name is found, the scientific name is used as the title and top listing, with the subspecies/varieties, phylogenetic position and dispute categories being used as necessary.

Please make changes or additions to this as you see fit.

John M. ...said John Moffett (talk) (Please sign your talk page posts by simply adding four tildes, ~~~~.)


Question, how do we determine 'primary common name'? Kim van der Linde 13:22, 26 October 2007 (CDT)


Research the issue. Make a judgement call. Post the other common names as per above.


PS, If the author has a serious problem making a judgement call, it is probably because they are such an expert that they are torn by the field's debates, or it is because they don't know enough about the topic to be writing an encyclopedia article. Either way, they still need to make a judgement call. ...said John Moffett (talk) (Please sign your talk page posts by simply adding four tildes, ~~~~.)

John, I'm not sure I understand the point of the abc categorical options above. It looks like a hierarchy of discussion points for the introduction not titles. Could you give some examples so i can figure out what you mean. For example, i don't understand the point your are making for "other common names (and countries of usage)". Are you suggesting that in some cases other common names might be used rather than the primary common name? I know that makes no sense but if not that, then what? Below I have added a table that includes the four types of article I envisage we will encounter most, I think we should find some examples and agreeable solutions to these types of scenarios. fell free to add to the table. i will start to fill the cells too, as I have time. Chris Day (talk) 16:16, 26 October 2007 (CDT)
Type Common name/s for the species Example article Suggested Solution for the Title
A No common names
B One common name
C Multiple common names Myiopsitta monachus: Monk Parakeet or Quaker Parrot?
Puma concolor: Cougar, Mountain Lion, Puma, Panther or Catamount
D One or more common name/s that is/are also used for other species Fruitfly: Drosophilidae, Drosophila, Drosophila melanogaster, Tephritidae, Gay Slang
E Combination of issues exemplfied by Turkish viper: Vipera barani, also named Baran's adder
Vipera xanthina, also named rock viper (also for Vipera raddei), coastal viper, Ottoman viper, and Near East viper

My main point was that the consensus of biologists here seems to be that the title has the common name first when available, and the most common name is preferable. If the author can’t make this determination, then they can ask for help. The scientific name is adjacent. All other names are given below, in a table if you think that is the best way to provide the data.

Since many common names are country specific, it could be helpful to assign popular, alternate common names to countries where they are used (in the table below). Obviously, if the common names come from different parts of the same country, then this is a moot point.

To be honest, as a biologist, I am having a hard time understanding the confusion. There are common names and systematic names, and we will include as many of each as the authors can find. Placing them in an organized, consistent array seems straightforward.

Wouldn’t any modern encyclopedia want all possible names for a particular species given? If so, we are only debating the order of names, and the formatting of the additional information.

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor)

Alternate names: Cougar, Puma, Panther, Catamount

Note: this is the entry from Wikipedia on naming, and I see nothing wrong with it:

“The cougar has over 40 names in English, of which puma and mountain lion are popular. Other names include catamount, panther, painter, and mountain screamer. In North America, "panther" is used most often to refer the Florida panther sub-population. In South America, "panther" refers to both the spotted and black color morphs of the jaguar, while it is also broadly used to refer to the Old World leopard.”

JRM 18:22, 26 October 2007 (CDT) __________________

OK, I think there is some miscommunication here, you do seem to be talking about the introduction. Clearly all the names, even country specific names, should be in the article somewhere. All your a-e points are essential for an accurate and complete article. But this is not really what is being discussed and I am not suggesting we use a table in an article. The only reason I have added a table in this section is just to visualise the particular types of article that we will have to name.
The specific proposal here is referring to the Title of the article ONLY. In the table above, we need to agree on one title for the examples given (see the column: "Suggested Solution for the Title"). There are five different types of situation outlined, an example or two for each and then the proposed solution. Originally we had come up with a Proposal, which was the result of discussion here (see: Naming_issues, Naming_of_species_again and Scientific_names--Ghastly_idea) and a link to an extensive discussion in the forums. However, the consensus was shot down once Kim started implementing it for a few articles. So now we are back to square one. I want to know what people would propose to name representative articles of the five types in the table above, A,B,C, D and E. Once we know what names are acceptable, then we can start drawing up a new proposal. Chris Day (talk) 18:38, 26 October 2007 (CDT)


Hi Chris,

As I noted at the top of my post, I'm talking about the title, as well as what is below it. Every author is going to have to make a judgement on each article, but for the title we seem to be settling on trying as best as possible to use the most accepted common name. Whether cougar or mounain lion, it's up to the author. How else could we do this? We can't make a hard and fast rule when biology and language clash. If all terms link to the article, there should be no problem.

Giving the scientific name first doesn't solve the "best name/title" problem in my opinion.


Oops, so you did :) I jumped right to the meat. You ask how else could we do this, well you saw what Kim was proposing. So do you think arguments can be avoided with what you are proposing? These naming issues cause real problems in wikipedia. What about the other two examples, they are more complicated than the Puma one. The viper one, for instance? Chris Day (talk) 19:17, 26 October 2007 (CDT)

So, what I get is that the first author of the article just chooses from the available common names and that is that. Only when there is no common name, the scientific name is used. Otherwise, ech an every common name, regardless how uncommon can be used. Kim van der Linde 23:45, 26 October 2007 (CDT)


Hi Kim and Chris,

Since it is up to authors in all other sections of Citizendium to title their own work, I don't see why it should be different for biology. -

Baran's adder (Vipera barani) also called Turkish viper (do no confuse with Vipera xanthina) -

Radde's mountain viper, (Vipera raddei) also called Rock viper (do no confuse with Vipera xanthina), Armenian mountain viper -

Ottoman viper (Vipera xanthina) also called Rock viper (do no confuse with Vipera radei), coastal viper, Turkish viper (do no confuse with Vipera barani), and Near East viper -

This is obviously a particularly confusing naming situation where three relatively closely related species found in the same area of the globe have some similar common names.

If I were going to write an article on this subject I would not pick just one of these species, but would rather discuss them as a group and deal with the name issues in the article. The title of my article would be “middle eastern vipers”.

I think of Citizendium as an encyclopedia rather than a zoology textbook.

I am not adverse to using scientific names first, but I was of the opinion that the concensus here was common names first where possible, and I was just trying to get us past this issue. How about we take a vote among all biology editors and writers and see what the concensus really is?

John _____________________

Hello All,

Is there a simple way to set up a vote among Biology editors to determine the official policy for naming species articles?

I suggest these options:

1) Scientific name first, common names follow

2) Author chooses preferred common name and scientific name follows (except, obviously when there are no common names)

3) Full author discretion on title format

I personally prefer option 3, but I understand the other points of view clearly.


Quick Question

Did the naming convention get sorted yet? --Robert W King 19:48, 13 December 2007 (CST)

  • You just *had* to go there, didn't you, Robbie? (Knew someone would, and it wasn't gonna be me!) Groan...! Aleta Curry 19:59, 13 December 2007 (CST)
I'm only asking because I want to know what I should do with this:
  • Talk:Giant Panda (Edit) →‎ Talk:Ailuropoda melanoleuca (Giant Panda) →‎ Talk:Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
  • Giant Panda/Approval (Edit) →‎ Ailuropoda melanoleuca (Giant Panda)/Approval →‎ Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)/Approval
  • Giant Panda/External Links (Edit) →‎ Ailuropoda melanoleuca (Giant Panda)/External Links →‎ Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)/External Links
  • Giant Panda/Related Articles (Edit) →‎ Ailuropoda melanoleuca (Giant Panda)/Related Articles →‎ Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)/Related Articles
  • Giant Panda/Bibliography (Edit) →‎ Ailuropoda melanoleuca (Giant Panda)/Bibliography →‎ Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)/Bibliography
  • Template:Giant Panda/Metadata (Edit) →‎ Template:Ailuropoda melanoleuca (Giant Panda)/Metadata →‎ Template:Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)/Metadata

--Robert W King 20:02, 13 December 2007 (CST)

In all seriousness, whatever we do, I think we're going to need some flexibility. No one's going to look up "Ailuropoda melanoleuca". I can't even spell it. Come to think of it, I don't even know if I can pronounce it.
At first the biologists implemented a scientific names only policy. it went south very quickly for several reasons, not all of them having to do with resistance.
I thought we were nearing a compromise; we thought we'd try (or some of us did) an exemption for "domestic species" of animal, specific ones were listed, there are some others that we hadn't quite worked out the kinks with. We quickly ran into a snag with plants--someone's always going to come along and start carrot or (finally!) banana, and there's a good reason for that.
Honestly, I don't think that "leaving it up to the biologists" is a solution. We already know that a vote is likely to come out in favour of scientific names only--and that just doesn't work. If we could set the argument aside for a moment of whether that's the "right" or the "wrong" solution, it simply isn't a workable one just at present--and maybe not ever.
Any solution will have to take into account that the biologists have a very good point: some of the common names are disasterous in terms of usage. Which is it--a goundhog or a woodchuck, or a prairie dog? Can't even say use the "most common" common name. And then there's oyster plant. If you ask me, that's acanthus; I didn't know that salsify and moses in a basket went by the same common name. I shudder to think what would happen if an ambitious 12-year old (or thirty-year-old, for that matter) decided to test out their cooking skills with the "root vegetable" Tradescantia spathacea--or is that Rhoeo discolor...?
Aleta Curry 20:58, 13 December 2007 (CST)
"We already know that a vote is likely to come out in favour of scientific names only" : To be fair, it came out as "scientific name (common name)" after input from a varied group of editors. But once implemented there were protests. Chris Day (talk) 22:19, 17 December 2007 (CST)


Sounds like we are at back at square one. I really can't add any more to the discussion. Since we all seem to agree on flexibiity, maybe that should indicate that we aren't going to make an inflexible rule about naming, which brings us back to the author naming the article.


John Moffett 09:11, 14 December 2007 (EST)

Let's get practical

I remain concerned that some of the biologists with strong feelings on this will experience frustration at their expertise being undermined by laypersons ignoring the issue. I think some guidelines for the naming authors are useful, John.

Can we perhaps use Chris's work table? I've copied it below, and will start filling in proposals.

Type Common name/s for the species Example article Suggested Solution for the Title
A No common names Tyrannosaurus Rex Article under scientific name
B One common name dog; canis familiaris + variants (domestic breeds) article at common name; scientific name redirects. If this is complicated, place explanatory articles at other names i.e. Does 'dog' encompass wolves, jackals, pariah dogs etc? Set up canis lupus, canis lupus familiaris; use subpages as appropriate.
C Multiple common names Myiopsitta monachus: Monk Parakeet or Quaker Parrot? If it's a pet, pick a common name, redirect all others
Puma concolor: Cougar, Mountain Lion, Puma, Panther or Catamount This is a wild animal. All, most, or several common names equally well known. Redirect all common names to Puma concolor. Use good judgement--this would work for groundhog e.g. but not for panther, which could also be a leopard, so that needs to be disambig at panther.
D One or more common name/s that is/are also used for other species Fruitfly: Drosophilidae, Drosophila, Drosophila melanogaster, Tephritidae, Gay Slang Disambiguation at common name; explain and/or annotate to the extent necessary. Note that it is not CZ policy to begin a cluster for or to checklist disambiguation pages, contact an editor if you feel this is an instance where that is necessary.
E Combination of issues exemplfied by Turkish viper (animals) or brassica rapa (plants): Vipera barani, also named Baran's adder
Vipera xanthina, also named rock viper (also for Vipera raddei), coastal viper, Ottoman viper, and Near East viper
brassica rapa incoporates root vegetables,leaf vegetables, and oilseeds. Many different names even for the same root vegetables, same English common name describes different vegetable in different countries. Various scientific classification designations exist concurrently for a diverse range of leaf vegetables and root vegetables. A complicated business that is not likely to be solved by any one person. "Turnip" is frequently classified as brassica rapa or brassica rapa rapa, however "brassica rapa" could just as easily mean wild mustard or bok choy as well. The common name "turnip" can be understood quite differently, depending on country and region, and might describe vegetables known elsewhere as "white turnip", "yellow turnip", "suede" or "rutabega".

Editors should decide what disambiguations are needed at what levels, decide what name the article should "live at", plan for redirects as necessary, and make extensive use of subpages, particularly catalogues, related articles and tutorial level pages if necessary.

F One or more common name/s that is/are well-defined as an umbrella term for a group containing many species or variants: Dinosaur; Monkey; ape; dog; horse; butterfly; frog, parrot As at D, above
G Confusion, controversy or other lack of consensus on the scientific name, change in scientific name from that used previously; new phylogenetic information, re-classification: Is tomato Lycopersicon esculentum or is it Solanum lycopersicum? When a common name is readily understood by all, use that, e.g. tomato. Where a common name has specialist use, i.e. in horticulture or hobby gardening, use that if it will clarify, redirect as necessary or disambiguate if needed. An editor decides what type of disambiguation is necessary.
H General Guidelines Many of these issues can be resolved through an author's best judgement, but not all. Laypersons should probably avoid the most complex situations and leave them to experts. If they feel a need to tackle a topic, they should a)use a common name , list all the known common names c) list all the scientific classifications and d) contact an editor for help and review. Editors should decide what disambiguations are needed at what levels, decide what name the article should "live at", plan for redirects as necessary, and make extensive use of subpages, particularly catalogues, related articles and tutorial level pages if necessary. Among the tools we have to help are subpages, related pages, tables, categories, disambiguation, entry or "tutorial level" pages, and definition templates. Editors should remember to write disabiguations that are clear and accessible. Articles should in general start off being easy to understand; difficult subjects can get more specialised as the article progresses, and the beginning or intermediate reader can be referred to related or entry-level topics.


This is quite practical and leaves the decision basically up to the educated author to make the right choice. I don't see any other way this can be done with a hard and fast rule considering that there are not only multiple common names for some organisms, but also disputed scientific names, and confusion over scientific names.

Is the tomato plant Lycopersicon esculentum, as I have called it, or is it Solanum lycopersicum, as Wikipedia lists it? I believe that Solanum is the Family name, not the genus, but this shows how many problems are associated with precise naming.

If we are taking a vote, I vote to adopt this method. Personally I think the author needs to know enough about the topic to be able to resolve the naming issue with clarity or they shouldn't be writing the article in the first place.


John Moffett 06:13, 15 December 2007 (EST)

John, I agree with you to all intents and purposes. However:
a) You and I have been at this for [coughs discreetly] long enough to know that simply saying "use your best judgement" does not work in these types of situations; there will be people who have to be hit over the head with it. I still think we need written guidelines; it will help stop arguments, and the bio department just doesn't have the manpower right now to deal with lots of silly arguing.
b) I don't know if you follow the forums, but given the way discussions are going, more and more leeway is being given to people starting "stubs". We will not have, at least not for the immediate future, a situation in which only experts in the field will be starting the many articles needed here. So, while I agree with you that in an ideal world no one who can't resolve the naming issue with clarity should be writing one of these articles in the first place, (and I honestly don't know whether most of you biology folks would feel that I myself qualify) that's not the situation in which we find ourselves.
c) I'm going to add point G above to deal with differing scientific names, assuming I can think of something intelligent to say. Would *you* like to take a stab at it?
d) To Chris: what's the issue/s with Turkish Viper? Could you use that as a test case for drafting guidelines for unusual situations?
Aleta Curry 17:55, 15 December 2007 (CST)

I'm swamped at the moment but will get back to you on this. The point of the table was to present all possible scenarios so that we could actually then write some sort of guideline that is acceptable to all. I don't think such a goal is impossible. John has made a good start on the table including adding more scenario's. Sorry i can't think about this more at the moment. Chris Day (talk) 22:12, 17 December 2007 (CST)

The idea of the turkish viper example was to give a situation where common names are just impossible and a scientific name would have to be incorporated in to the name to avoid ambiguity. The format for how we deal with that needs to be sorted out. Chris Day (talk) 22:23, 17 December 2007 (CST)
"[John] Aleta has made a good start on the table including adding more scenario's."
I don't actually know if John is happy with this (edits to the table) or not.
Aleta Curry 22:43, 17 December 2007 (CST)

To avoid any further delays, can we adopt the above scheme (table) as a tentative, evolving set of rules for naming articles on species? We can continue to add and adjust the rules as we go. But I don't think this should be a show stopper. The above rules are a good start which covers most of the issues. For disputes like the tomato plant, I still think that if there is an unambiguous common name, like tomato, that this would be a better title for the article than Lycopersicon Esculentum. Nobody calls tomatoes love apples anymore, so that is not an issue, and nobody calls them Lycopersicon Esculentum, not even most botanists. Everybody calls them tomatoes. No one would be confused by that title. JRM

I'm wondering why there is a confusion for tomato? The accepted name has been established since 1993 although i agree such acceptance might be slow to set in. Recent molecular phylogenies have shown that the tomato species formerly in the Lycopersicon genus should actually be in the Solanum genus. Thus, name changes such as Lycopersicon esculentum to Solanum lycopersicum are now the accepted nomenclature.
  • Spooner, D., G. Anderson, and R. Jansen (1993) Chloroplast DNA evidence for the interrelationships of tomatoes, potatoes, and pepino (Solanaceae). Am. J. Bot. 80:676–698.
  • Bohs, L. and R. Olmstead (1997) Phylogenetic relationships in Solanum (Solanaceae) based on ndhF sequences. Sys. Bot. 22:5–17.
  • Olmstead, R. and J. Palmer (1997) Implications for the phylogeny, classification, and biogeography of Solanum from cpDNA restriction site variation. Sys. Bot. 22:19–29.

The new names are in the following table:

New name Synonyn Common name
Solanum lycopersicum L. var. cerasiforme (Dunal) Spooner, J. Anderson & R.K. Jansen
  • Lycopersicon esculentum P. Mill. var. cerasiforme (Dunal) Alef.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum P. Mill. ssp. galenii (P. Mill.) Luckwill
  • Lycopersicon esculentum P. Mill. var. leptophyllum (Dunal) D'Arcy
Solanum lycopersicum L. var. lycopersicum
  • Lycopersicon esculentum P. Mill.
This happens fairly frequently since the molecular analysis is giving a lot more data that means the phylogenies are becoming more accurate. Chris Day (talk) 22:55, 18 December 2007 (CST)


There isn't any disagreement as far as I'm concerned, I was just using it as an example of how there are no perfect solutions, just like the Mid East viper issue. Everyone on earth knows it is called the tomato plant. This doesn't change the fact that it is still called Lycopersicon esculentum in many publications. Nor does it change the fact that any article on the tomato plant should be titled tomato, not Solanum lycopersicum.

I hope this debate is over, because all I see is diminishing returns at this point. Let's use the table, and proceed from there. As additional issues come up, the table can be updated.

I am actually amazed at the level of concern on this issue. I'm used to moving ahead with projects I am involved with, not debating points endlessly to the detriment of the whole.


John this discussion is in the backwoods. I doubt anyone is holding up their articles for this, if you are, I'd suggest you make a start. Chris Day (talk) 08:25, 19 December 2007 (CST)

New Extension

We have a new "treeview" extension installed over at CZ Talk:Treeview Extension (talk page linked), and I'd like to see if you in the Bio group would like to weigh in on its potential. --Robert W King 20:06, 17 December 2007 (CST)

I am sure this may be useful to somebody.

"The University of Sydney's Rick Shine and his former student Daniel Warner, now of Iowa State University, report that the temperature at which a reptile egg is incubated not only determines sex but optimizes the number of offspring in future generations.

Their findings, published online this week in the journal Nature, provide the first "unequivocal" demonstration that incubation temperatures affect the reproductive success of males and females." --Robert W King 14:29, 22 January 2008 (CST)

Naming convention -- is there one?

I gather from what I have read that there is, as of now, no naming convention for organisms? If this is incorrect, would someone please post a link to it for me? --K. Leo Pullin 21:29, 1 February 2008 (CST)

You're correct there is not one at present. I think the discussion ended up being do what you think is most logical for the species in question. Chris Day (talk) 21:43, 1 February 2008 (CST)
With all the potential battles and spinning about the lack of a convention and about what someone else named an article? There are many roadblocks to attracting expertise, and it seems to me that preventing easy editing by experts is a big one. I've also worked as a linguist, and I love common names, but I don't see how organism articles in an on-line, international encyclopedia can be managed, sorted, and organized by randomly using common names or scientific names, whichever one a writer fancies for that species. This simply establishes a lack of organization for organism articles on CZ. I already cannot find a list of plants anywhere, or a category for plants.
And all those millions of plants someone else asked about? "And how on earth will any schoolchild/university student/casual browser ever find all the millions of plant species?" Most identified plant species don't have common names, only scientific ones. If they're looking for plants by common names, they won't find all the millions of plant species, because they'll be missing most of them.
Wikipedia plants, by the way, uses scientific names for plant articles, or tries to, but uses common names for articles about the agricultural or forestry or other ethnobotanical products, with, in theory, an article about the same plant from a botanical perspective under its scientific name--both articles indicating the other exists. Or that's what they claim, but I could not find an example. All plants with common names have redirects to their scientific names. Again, most plants don't have common names.
Thanks for the answer. It's a disappointing start, and a "danger ahead, keep away" sign. --K. Leo Pullin 22:02, 1 February 2008 (CST)
I agree with you and I'm game to have another go to reach a consensus so we can have some uniformity. It sounds like all the things you mention are things we have discussed above. For example, common names redirecting to scientific names. I think the consensus was zeroing in on Common name (Species name), or Species name when no common name is available. Where it broke down was with the question "which common name should be used?" It was the choice of the common name that was what I was referring to above as "what you think is most logical for the species". So I think we are close. Chris Day (talk) 22:23, 1 February 2008 (CST)
I think one stumbling block, for examples the tomato or turnip, is that there are old scientific names (not to mention multiple plants with the same common names) out there that are still in books. This is becoming quite common with the new molecular data being used to consolidate and refine the relationships between different varieties, personally I don't find this a major issue, and in fact it’s an important part of this encyclopedia’s role to clarify the current names. I see no reason why old names cannot exist as redirects. Chris Day (talk) 22:29, 1 February 2008 (CST)
Which common name to use is a much bigger stumbling block in the English speaking world than the question of what to do about old scientific names (list them as former synonyms, or horticultural synonyms still in use with plants, and create redirects from them). And, yes, that is an important part of a general knowledge encyclopedia: to give laymen access to correct jargon. Current common names should be listed in the introductory paragraph of an article. The most common one first, or the one most common regionally in case of endemic species or invasive species (rather than its invasive name).
No matter how many problems there are with using scientific names all of the same problems arise with using common names, except for what is the most correct name. This is codified for organisms in either the botanical or zoological code (God help the bacteriologists is all I can say there). Common names for birds are regionally codified in most places, but not all. Birders will argue for common names over scientific names based upon this. It would be much easier, streamlined, in fact, to simply research and use the correct scientific name for organisms.
Which common name to use will continue to be a problem, but eliminating articles titled by common name is a good start.
Citizendium wants expertise in its articles? Maybe starting by making it a place where experts know their expertise is needed is a good way to go. Another major complaint about using scientific names is the difficulty knowing which one to use. Experts in the organism know which one to use. In writing about an organism there is a solid place in a lay encyclopedia for an amateur or a naturalist without extensive scientific knowledge. However, this usually cannot be done well without input in some way from the experts, either by reading their research, or by their contributions to the article. Ultimately if we can't find the correct scientific name for an organism it may be because we are not using experts or their research. There's too much sloppy information about organisms available on the web already.
--K. Leo Pullin 14:31, 3 February 2008 (CST)
PS Sorry for the spell check changes to your posts, my computer is set up to do it automatically, and it takes to long to go back and see which posts I've spell checked or not, and, yes, sometimes it does it incorrectly.


i'm adding microanatomy / histology. if you object, please say below. Tom Kelly 22:48, 8 March 2008 (CST)

I wanted to list the gland article since I would like to work on that later. It would be a good candidate for a catalog of exocrine and endocrine glands. Tom Kelly

Should we list the biology workgroup articles created by Eduzendium?

I think it would be nice to see the microbe list. Also, We could make it in to a marketing tool for eduzendium to have it in its own area. Thoughts? Tom Kelly 17:12, 14 June 2008 (CDT)

Subdiscipline list

Subdiscipline list should include "Systems biology" as a separate subdiscipline.

Subdiscipline list should include "Life" as a separate discipline, as the question "What is life?" plays a dominant role in biology, leading to studies of self-organization, thermodynamics of living systems, autopoiesis, information flow in living systems, etc.


Photosynthesis --Anthony.Sebastian 17:23, 4 July 2008 (CDT)

please make a KEY for what the different color links mean, the strike through, the bold, and the yellow status boxes somewhere near the top of the workgrp page

I think this would be useful but have no idea what some of the color links, etc mean. Tom Kelly 18:08, 15 July 2008 (CDT)

Workgroup logo?

A draft has been made for an article to be submitted to PLoS Biology, explaining CZ and Biology Week. It will be accompanied by an image that may look like this or similar and could find reuse for the Biology article or CZ:Biology Workgroup logo. Please comment at CZ Talk:Biology Week/PLoS. Thanks! Daniel Mietchen 00:51, 17 July 2008 (CDT)

Image overlaps TOC

I'm viewing this page on my laptop which is set to a 1024x786 screen size. The image overlaps the TOC. I'd move the TOC down myself, but that would require that I muck around with tables and I might just mess it up... --Larry Sanger 12:22, 17 September 2008 (CDT)

Does that help at all? If not we need to reduce the size of the image or fix the cells in the table with an absolute size rather than a percentage. Chris Day 15:07, 17 September 2008 (CDT)

Why is "cryptobiology" the parent of cryobiology?

Under the page's high-priority article lists, at number eight in Biophysics, there is "Cryptobiology"; under it are Cryobiology and Dehydration. I have no idea what the term means, and a quick search on Google shows virtually no results for the term "Cryptobiology"; the closest matches involve cryptozoology, a pseudoscience that seems little related to cryobiology. Should I get rid of it? Or is it actually a legitimate topic? Joshua Choi 05:37, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

It is a valid topic but in this context perhaps better framed as anhydrobiosis, to which I changed it. --Daniel Mietchen 13:36, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
I see. "Cryptobiology" doesn't yield anything on Google, but "cryptobiosis" yields plenty of results. You learn something new every day. :) Joshua Choi 16:11, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, cryptobiosis (a.k.a. anabiosis) is even more overarching and thus better suited for that listing of the Biology core articles (which still needs lots of critical views, in my opinion). --Daniel Mietchen 14:09, 3 April 2009 (UTC)