• Question: Why does every sceintific name for objects always in latin?

    Asked by benny221200 to Hannah, Ian, Jono, Mark on 26 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Hannah Brotherton

      Hannah Brotherton answered on 26 Jun 2013:

      Hi benny221200

      Throughout history of science, all scientific literature was written in Latin. Only recently has it been written in English and modern langurages.
      We use latin names so scientists that speak different languages can understand what they are talking about.
      Another reason is that many plants and animals have common names that differ by region.
      Having a Latin name avoids confusion among scientists.

      So did you know our planets are not called after Latin names but named after Greek and roman gods – like Venus is named after the goddess of beauty because of how bright it is , and mars is named after the god of war – because it is red and big.
      We won’t change these names because they are used so often in today’s science.


    • Photo: Mark Hodson

      Mark Hodson answered on 26 Jun 2013:

      Hi benny221200,

      just tradition. But it is also useful as everyone agrees on the latin name and then we all know we’re talking about the same thing, even if the plant or animal has a different name in each language.

    • Photo: Ian Wilson

      Ian Wilson answered on 26 Jun 2013:

      Hi benny221200,

      This one can be blamed on a guy called Carl Linnaeus! He was a Swedish scientist who wrote a book called ‘Species Plantarum’ in 1753. It contained descriptions of every plant that Linnaeus knew of.

      Linnaeus spoke latin, so every plant he described was given a latin name. His book was the first to name the plants he included. People were so impressed by the naming system he’d come up with that it just became the way everyone named things. That’s why we still use latin names to this day.



    • Photo: Jono Bone

      Jono Bone answered on 27 Jun 2013:

      Hi Benny,

      Every recognised species on Earth is given a double barreled scientific name, that is specific to that species, whereas common names can vary from country to country and even by region within a country.
      This scientific naming system is called ‘binomial nomenclature’. These names are important because they allow people throughout the world to communicate about animal species with less confusion. They are in latin because people in the different countries speak different languages so it is best to all decide to use one language when naming animals and stick to it.