In the United Kingdom, the phrase “I’m feeling a bit randy,” could get you slapped in a bar, and being pissed might be a good reason to take a cab home. Across the pond, “Randy” is not a name, but a colloquial term for wanting some “action,” if you know what I mean. Similarly, in the U.S., being pissed is an expression of anger, while in Britain you’d be in a drunken stupor. Such confusing differences in slang are a metaphor for the difficulties that can arise during cross-border discussions about biodiversity. For example, a U.S. or Canadian citizen might think a self-proclaimed European Elk researcher would be a fraud upon hearing the description of an elk. In Europe the elk, Alces alces is what North Americans call a moose (Alces alces). In contrast the American elk, Cervus canadensis, is more like the European red deer, Cervus elaphus. Learning taxonomy is like having a universal translator (go Star Trek!), as it saves researchers from embarrassing moments, confusion and wasted time. One final benefit to learning taxonomy is that it makes you look smarter than you might actually be… take it from someone who has benefited from this illusion.
©2000-2015 BTLeventhal.com / Bruce & Tamy Leventhal. All rights reserved. No image on this site may be used without permission.