Such as ...
What is the most inappropriately named animal?
How about the European Hare? The Latin, I mean: Lepus capensis
europaeus. This means the hare belonging to the Cape (of South
Africa) found in Europe.
Or the tapir family, which all come under the suborder Ceratomorpha:
"the horned kind". Tapirs have no horns, though their cousins, the
Or how about the Serval, which name means "deer-wolf" - the serval
is a type of cat.
The Blue Whale is certainly a strong contender - the Latin name
for the blue whale is Balaenoptera musculus. I have no problem
with balaenoptera, which means "finned whale", but musculus? That
means "little mouse"! Nice name for the largest living animal,
extant or extinct ...
But actually, the champion of all mis-named species has to be Homo
Sapiens. Sapiens means "wise, sensible" - and frankly, neither of
those adjectives describe the top thousand things we are. Oh, we
occasionally act sensibly, and everyone probably knows at least
one wise person, but these are definitely not the norm for our race
- look at our tendency to destroy our planet, for example. We may
be smart, but we've a long way to go towards wisdom. My cats have
more wisdom than is found in the entire human population of the
state I live in - the state which elected John Sununu for governor,
for example, or believes what Nacky Loeb writes in the Union
No, a far better name for our species would Homo Querulus:
complaining humans. I'm not being facetious - it really is one of
the things we universally do best, in every age, race, and culture.
And it also is one of the major goads that drives our destiny.
Most scientific and technological developments occur because somebody
complains about how hard it is to do something. To shut this
whining up is a great incentive to create such things as clothing,
houses, agriculture, pottery, indoor plumbing, washing machines,
vacuum cleaners, computers, electric pencil sharpeners, instant
pototoes, microwave ovens, etc., etc.
Other musings to come ...
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