Names are just words

If you were to look into the names of some 400 over species of sharks, you will realise that some are not fitting. For example, the zebra shark is covered in spots, not stripes and the angel shark should more characteristically be called the ray shark for its resemblance to stingrays. Also, some names are used for effect and not indication of locality or resemblance. For example, the goblin shark is named thus due to its ugly long and flat snout. If we were kinder, we could simply name it the long-snout shark.

Furthermore, some names emerged from stories. The fire salamander seems aptly named thus due to the yellow spots/stripes on its black body. In fact, it was derived because people used to believe that salamanders could live in fire, as salamanders were frequently seen to crawl out of logs tossed onto cooking and campfires. Of course, their thin permeable skin offers no such protection.

Even though naming is essential for record and transmission of information, it remains a imperfect tool of understanding. We can only give meanings to things around us based on our limited understanding of the world. Hence, we should not settle for names, and instead investigate more for deeper understanding. We can begin to question why a chair is called a chair or why a phone a phone?


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