The study of human anatomy and physiology is one of the crucial Biology Topics for medical professionals and researchers.
Scientific Nomenclature: How do we give Scientific Names? And Definition and Rules of Binomial Nomenclature
Taxonomy is a biological science that deals with the identification, nomenclature and classification of organisms. One of the functions of a taxonomist or systematist is to provide a scientific name for every living creature. The need for a uniform international system of naming is obvious. Common vernacular names for the same plant or animal vary from region to region.
For example, the bird that we know as Gauraiya in Hindi in India and Pakistan is known by different names in another countries-house sparrow in England, Pardal in Spain, Musch in Holland, Suzune in Japan, and so On. Similarly, a dog is called ‘kutta’ in Hindi, Kukur in Bangla and ‘Naai’ in Tamil. These names are not understood elsewhere. Moreover, the same common name may be used for different kinds of animals. For example, the name Kenchua is used both for the earthworm and Ascaris. It is, therefore, important to have a single scientific name to be followed all over the world.
In biology, every organism is given two proper names. First is the name of the genus to which an organism belongs. This genus name is shared among a number of other closely related organisms. A genus name is similar to a person’s surname. The organism shares this name with other members of its genus, just as we share our surname with other members of our family.
An organism’s second name is the name of the species to which it belongs. This name is specific to the organism in question and the name is not shared with any other organism in that particular genus.
The scientific names are unique, understood, and followed all over the world. They are not changed easily. They are guided by a set of rules in the International Code of Biological Nomenclature.
As per the convention, the genus name (generic name) is always written first with its first letter capitalized. Species name (specific name) is written after the genus name and its first letter is always in small case. Both names of the individual are printed in italics. When handwritten, both names are underlined, e.g.,
Rana tigrina = Frog
Both names are usually Latin names or have Latin endings. One may question why is it necessary to use a “dead” language to refer to an organism. Why not use everyday English, Hindi, French, Spanish or Russian? for one thing, Latin is a holdover from the times when scholars communicated in this tongue.
(hold over means to remain beyond the expected time). In order to distinguish each kind of organism in a language that is precise, uniform, and understandable to investigators throughout the world, a formal system of Latin nomenclature is used.
Thus, according to the binomial nomenclature system, the lion’s full name is Panthera Leo: Panthera is the genus name and Leo is its species name. However, the genus Panthera also includes several animals such as tigers and leopards. The tiger’s proper name is Panthera tigris, the leopard’s is Panthera pardus, and the snow leopard’s Panthera uncia. The scientific name of the human species is Homo sapiens, where Homo is a generic name and sapiens is a specific name.
Since this system of naming involves giving organisms two names, it is known as binomial nomenclature. It was developed and first of all used in naming plants and animals by Linnaeus in his book entitled Species Plantarum, which was published in 1753. Linnaeus has been considered as the “father of taxonomy”, since he developed the binomial system of nomenclature and a system of classification.