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Raivo Seppo wrote:
> Does some conlangs, or even natlangs, reflect Darwinistic views? That 
> is, the words designating apes and men, birds and reptiles, could they 
> be cognate? I donīt mean figurativeness ("apeman") but really ancient 
> strata in language.

I don't think that related groups of animals would be likely to have 
names that are cognates; more likely, a familiar name would be used for 
a newly discovered group that's similar in one way or another, without 
necessarily being related. English for instance has "robin" for a number 
of unrelated birds (two of them in the thrush family but different 
genera, and a group of Australian birds that turn out to be more closely 
related to crows and shrikes). The word "robin" is already pronounced 
differently in these dialects, so it's possible that someday these might 
be considered as cognates...

I had explicit rules for naming of animal categories in Eklektu, which I 
suppose must have been inherited by Ludireo (since I don't recall 
changing them). The rules allowed for using a word like "finch" at 
varying levels of specificity (with the addition of prefixes), from a 
very specific class (for instance, one that includes chaffinches and 
goldfinches, but not Darwin's finches of the Galapagos islands) to a 
more general class (which might include cardinals, tanagers, wood 
warblers, and even Hawaiian honeycreepers if you want it to correspond 
with the Fringillidae of the Sibley/Monroe classification). Whether 
"reptiles" counts as a group that includes birds would depend on your 
opinion of the position in the tree of groups like turtles (which at 
least at one time were not known with much certainty; I don't know much 
about the current state of knowledge of the reptile family tree). 
Eklektu pretty much followed the rules of cladistics (a system that 
seems to be popular among biologists), which doesn't allow giving names 
to groups that are considered to be "paraphyletic" (meaning that not all 
of the descendants of the ancestral group are included). So an Eklektu 
word for "reptile" would have to include birds, and possibly also 
mammals depending on whether the mammal-like reptiles are included in 
the overall category.

I've reconsidered the rules for naming groups of species, and I'm 
allowing names for some paraphyletic groups (like "reptile" and "fish") 
in Minza. It might be cool to have the word for "ape" also include 
humans, though. I like Desmond Morris' phrase "naked ape".