Language for taxonomic names, redux

David Starner prosfilaes at
Thu Mar 2 22:21:32 CET 2017

On Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 11:49 AM Kent Karlsson <kent.karlsson14 at>

> Hmm. Since these are /names/ of /entire species/ (not individuals), I
> don't think it is appropriate to pluralise these names in any language.
> So, "We found remains of three [individuals of [the species]]
> /Homo erectus/", NOT "We found remains of three /homines erecti/".
> (Brackets mean that the part may be omitted, and taken as understood.)

Formal English might tolerate three /T. rex/,  but vernacular English would
demand three T. rexes. That clumsy/precise distinction is going to erode in
the need for a name for the species in question. One is not going to say
"There are two foxes and three [individuals of [the species]] /T. rex/ in
that picture", and in the vernacular one is not going to say "There are two
/Vulpes vulpes/ and two /T. rex/ in that picture"; the most natural
vernacular form is going to be "There are two foxes and three T. rexes in
that picture."
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