The Naming of the Shrew: A Curious History of Latin Names (Paperback)
  • The Naming of the Shrew: A Curious History of Latin Names (Paperback)

The Naming of the Shrew: A Curious History of Latin Names (Paperback)

Paperback 320 Pages
Published: 08/10/2015
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Latin names – frequently unpronounceable, all too often wrong and always a tiny puzzle to unravel – have been annoying the layman since they first became formalised as scientific terms in the eighteenth century.

Why on earth has the entirely land-loving Eastern Mole been named Scalopus aquaticus, or the Oxford Ragwort been called Senecio squalidus – ‘dirty old man’? What were naturalists thinking when they called a beetle Agra katewinsletae, a genus of fish Batman, and a Trilobite Han solo? Why is zoology replete with names such as Chloris chloris chloris (the greenfinch), and Gorilla gorilla gorilla (a species of, well gorilla)?

The Naming of the Shrew will unveil these mysteries, exploring the history, celebrating their poetic nature and revealing how naturalists sometimes get things so terribly wrong. With wonderfully witty style and captivating narrative, this book will make you see Latin names in a whole new light.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408865552
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 259 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm


Who would have thought that a book about Latin names could be quite so compelling!! - Alan Titchmarsh

Brims with verbal curiosities - Nature

Nature writing at its best: insightful, entertaining and often very funny - British Wildlife

I have not fully recovered from the discovery that the proper Latin name of the western lowland gorilla is Gorilla gorilla gorilla - Independent on Sunday

Weird and wonderful - Sunday Telegraph

Charming - The Lady

The pleasure of Wright’s book is the contrast between the rigour required for giving names and the careless minds and mischievous humour of those who devise them - The Times

Fascinating and funny - BBC Countrylife

Erudite but whimsical ... a book as charming as it is wise - Irish Examiner

A great read - Grow Your Own

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