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Name: Courtney Walkowski
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Question:
My question is why was the Sperm Whales' scientific changed from Physeter Macrocefalus to Pyseter Catodon?



Replies:
Hi Courtney, thanks for a really good question! I'm not quite sure why the Sperm Whale's name was changed, but I'll guess... People use scientific names for animals for a couple reasons First of all, they are written in Latin, a language that can't be misunderstood, no matter where you are from, so people from all over the world can talk about the animal, even though they speak different languages. Common names like "Sperm Whale" are not as good, because they change in different languages. However, sometimes, people don't all agree on what the proper name of an animal should be, and so they all get together and discuss what the proper name should be. Sometimes, the scientists all agree that a name should be changed. When this happens, as it did with the Sperm Whale, as you noticed, usually, people write the old name in parentheses after the new name, so everyone knows that the animal used to be called something else. I hope this helps!

Tom F Ihde



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