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Which is the correct about common names?
A. Easier to remember
B. Different in different languages
C. Universally recognized
D. All of the above

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Hint: In biology, a common name or vernacular name is a name that is used in a language common to that specific area.

Complete Answer:
- The scientific name for an organism follows a specific set of rules and that name is used all over the world. It is unique and distinct from all other names. However, common names are not governed by any strict rules and it remains more stable than scientific names. The common name originates from a particular area where people start using it repeatedly.
- Common names are relatively easy to remember and short but it can be confusing as several names are sometimes used in different regions of the same country, For example, water lily has about 248 common names. It can be misleading too, like, starfish, and jellyfish are not actually fishes but their common name is such that it can sometimes create confusion. Similarly, a single common name may be given to multiple species of an organism. People may not recognize the small differences in the appearance of distantly related species.
- Common names can also change with time. Species that are rare and lack economic importance do not have a common name.
- Some organizations have created an official list of common names, or guidelines of common names, but this is difficult to impose as the old names would still be used. Various bodies are trying to create names from scratch where no common name exists, to impose a single name where more than one name exists, to improve the existing common name, to replace the old names with the ones that would show more relatedness to the organism.

Hence the correct option is B, ‘different in different languages’.

Note: A standardized common name would allow everyone to know what organism was being discussed in a particular locality. The name differs according to the region.
Last updated date: 01st Jun 2023
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