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If your comment relates more to the Wikispecies project rather than this FAQ page, please consider leaving it on Wikispecies' Village Pump instead.


Just to point out: there is also potential for overlap with Wikibooks, which has the beginnings of an exhaustive dichotomous key and field guides, and may also overlap with wikibooks guides to gardening and nutrition, and the cookbook. TUF-KAT 22:02, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Genetic classification[edit]

As a perhaps naive student, it seems to me that a Linnaean classification of species does not have nearly the potential of an alternate classification, perhaps based on DNA mapping or some sort of genetic classification. This would provide a great new purpose for the site! The double helix logo only drives home this overlooked potential. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 20:24, 18 December 2006.

The linnaean classification system is based on DNA. Each subdivision from regnum to species represents another line of life bifuricating from the initial single cell. To do otherwise would be illogical. All of the other systems proposed are already included within the linnean system, and would only serve to remove criteria from the classifications. For example, there is a particular blood protien that is present in only two genuses of animal. Using this similarity as a criteria, humans and a certain species of earthworm would be grouped together. Sometimes genetic similarity is less important than actual decent, particuarly considering convergent evolution and the recient discovery of viral gene swapping, in which viruses deposite genes from unrelated species into each other's DNA.-- 17:50, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

It is largely an overstatement to say that linnean classification is based on DNA. The linnean classification only partially takes into account the results of phylogenetic studies (made from DNA or other type of data). For me it is not very interesting to make a Wikispecies without taking into account phylogenies: the wiki nature of the thing would allow more reactivity than just clinging to a rigid system of Order, Classes, and so on. Today biologists who care about species relationships know well that the linnean system is not adapted: there have been far more subdivisions in the real-world evolution than the formal structure of the linnean classifications can define. And even if we decided to simplify and fix a given number of subdivisions, advances in phylogenetic researches would anyway appeal frequent redefinition of the categories.-- 16:36, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Why Wikispecies is nonsense[edit]

The answer to "Why is Wikipedia not part of Wikipedia?" is:

The primary reason that Wikispecies is not part of Wikipedia is that Wikispecies is a different type of reference work to Wikipedia.

=Wikispecies is not part of Wikipedia because it is not Wikipedia - no argument

Wikispecies is neither a subset, nor a superset, of Wikipedia, and it has a different purpose.

=Wikispecies is not part of Wikipedia because it is not Wikipedia - no argument

In addition to this, Wikispecies has a different audience,

First argument

and very different software requirements to Wikipedia.

Maybe requirements but nothing has been implemented as far as I know

Much of Wikispecies will be language-independent, and feeding into all Wikipedias, so placing it only on the English Wikipedia would not be a neutral option.

There are Wikipedias in several language with a lot of language-independent information. Paris is the capital of France in all of them. Magic, isn't it?

The needs of a general purpose, general audience encyclopedia differ from the needs of a professional reference work.

=Wikispecies is not part of Wikipedia because it is not Wikipedia - no argument

The project will not be about removing information from Wikipedia. The existence of Wikispecies should absolutely not lead to any decrease in the detailed biology articles currently on the encyclopedia.

=Wikispecies won't harm Wikipedia

So:the only "valid" argument why Wikispecies should not be part of Wikipedia is that it's just "different". Sorry - I don't see the point why the Foundation should support this. -- Nichtich 21:35, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree with this view, I thought WikiSpecies was a bad idea when I first hear about it. What WS needs is some sort of semantic Wikipedia, and thats it imo. Or WikiData. 09:51, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

From the comment above: "There are Wikipedias in several language with a lot of language-independent information. Paris is the capital of France in all of them..." - Yes, however it is represented differently in each language-specific Wikipedia (e.g. "Paris" versus "Paryż" in Polish) and therefore the duplication is justified in that case. This is not true for the scientific names of species. They are all Latin-ized/universal names and therefore, do not require translation. Wikispecies could act as a common source of only these names and perhaps most accepted hierarchies currently duplicated in Commons (e.g. Chrysanthemum) and all the language-specific Wikipedias (see the "Scientific classification" taxoboxes/infoboxes on en:Chrysanthemum, fr:Chrysanthème, tr:Krizantem, etc.) --Georgeryp 16:54, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Move Wikispecies to Wikidata project[edit]

As many people are not really happy with Wikispecies and it's structure already looks like a taxonomy database I think the best solution would be to move it to a Wikidata project. Note, that Wikidata is currently just in planning phase. --Muffin 10:35, 29 May 2006 (UTC)


  • faster editing as the structure is predefined
  • easier integration of taxonomy templates into Wikipedia articles
Agreed, what will Wikispecies have that taxoboxes/taxonomic categories in Wikipedia won't? A clarified, systematic, uniform integration of Wikispecies taxonomic data into the existing Wikipedia pages following Tree_Of_Life project protocols would be far more useful, efficient, and accessible than the current split/duplication between Wikipedia and Wikispecies. Separate login id's? Why bother? 19:59, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Why don't you include proper pronunciation for taxonomic names?[edit]

This question was left by IP on the content page on 01:47, 6 March 2007 (diff). I moved it here because it seemed awkward there without a response (esp. after a long time). So once there is some form of response maybe it can be moved back to the content page? --Georgeryp 03:14, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

If one was going to provide that kind of functionality, the easiest way to do it would be a link in a main page or linked to the main page page, to a reliable source on Latin pronunciation. Latin is not a living language and there are meaningful variations in how vowels and accenting of Latin words are customarily spoken in different places -- the method used by English and Romanance language speakers (especially Italians) is probably most authoritative, but it is probably beyond the scope of the project (and cumbersome if applied to every entry). Wikipedia entries for particular species would also be an easier place to include pronunciation for species names that are not Latinate in origin (such as the common practice of using a Latin genera and a species name based on a local place name). In addition proper phonetic notation in standard international form is beyond the competence of most Wiki. contriubutors). 14:10, 6 August 2007 (UTC)[edit]

I replaced the "" link on this page (currently points to a domain placeholder) with a link to's Community Portal (a more approriate page to direct feedback than the main page in my opinion), because of longterm issues with the domain see: Bugzilla:7495. --Georgeryp 04:08, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

"regnum" vs "kingdom"[edit]

One of the FAQs is 'Why do you use (for example) "regnum" not "kingdom"?' The answer given is 'he Latinate name is used instead of the English one to allow Wikispecies to be more international and not dependent on a single language.' My question is if their are different Wikispecies's in different languages, why do we need to make the English language one more "international" by using a word most people won't understand. FerralMoonrender (wikipedia) 05:28, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

There is only a single version of each taxon page and taxon authority page (e.g. Chordata and Carolus Linnaeus) on Wikispecies. Think of Wikispecies as a common source of taxa, like how Wikimedia Commons is a common source for media. Although Wikispecies does have multiple translations of instructional pages (i.e. "Help:" pages and the "Main Page") and translated lists of the vernacular/common names for obvious reasons, the goal is to try to be as language-neutral as possible and Latin helps towards that end. Besides, Latin (including "Regnum" specifically) is what Linnaeus originally used in his Systema Naturae --Georgeryp 02:07, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Why bother with the regnum or any other rank at that, the divisions into ranks is arbitrary, they only non-arbitrary criteria for classifying organisms should be their evolutionary history. Why don't we just drop the ranks like an increasing number of workers are doing? It shouldn't mess with the data structure and it seems more language neutral than including the ranks.-tfadiga

Try telling that to the Taxonomists. 23:20, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

faq cat - someone maybe start something like Category:Frequently asked questions[edit]

someone maybe start something like Category:Frequently asked questions. --Emesee 10:03, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Extinct Species?[edit]

Does (and/or should) wikispecies include extinct species? If so, does that include both recently extinct species and ancient species?

Try asking on the actual site: wikispecies:Project:Village pump. Cbrown1023 talk 22:10, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Which taxonomic classification system Wikispecies should use is, as of recently, being debated. Wikispecies is using the most accurate system known to man, i.e., the Linnaean method that uses binomial/trinomial nomenclature. It includes every single organism known to man, groups them with similar organisms, gives them a unique name, and also identifies the physical characteristics of said organism. For example, the scientific name for anatomically modern humans, in trinomial nomenclature, is Homo sapiens sapiens, meaning "wise man" or "knowing man" in Latin. This very accurately describes the sentient animals that are most commonly referred to as "humans" in American English, while giving them their own unique name, one that's also easy to remember.

--Mast3rlinkx 23:09, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

P.S.: I didn't show any kind of bias toward humans, did I? I gave it as neutral a point of view as possible.

Why Linnaean taxonomy?[edit]

The most important question seems to me to be:

Why does Wikispecies use Linnaean taxonomy?

This is currently not answered anywhere.

Linnaean taxonomy seems to be based on an outdated view of the relationships between organisms, as stated in the Wikipedia article:

"Over time, the understanding of the relationships between living things has changed. Linnaeus could only base his scheme on the structural similarities of the different organisms. The greatest change was the widespread acceptance of evolution as the mechanism of biological diversity and species formation, following the 1859 publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. It then became generally understood that classifications ought to reflect the phylogeny of organisms, the descent by evolution. This cannot be actually known, but can be hypothesised." - w:Linnaean taxonomy#The alternative

Note also:

"Whereas Linnaeus classified for ease of identification, it is now generally accepted that classification should reflect the Darwinian principle of common descent.
Since the 1960s a trend called cladistic taxonomy (or cladistics or cladism) has emerged, arranging taxa in an evolutionary tree. If a taxon includes all the descendants of some ancestral form, it is called monophyletic, as opposed to paraphyletic. Other groups are called polyphyletic." - w:Biological classification#Evolutionary

There may be good reasons for using Linnaean taxonomy but the only reason I can think of is that it's much easier to categorize and organize the information - and that is a much less important issue than accuracy, IMO. --Chriswaterguy 06:25, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Linnaean Taxonomy is accurate enough for the purposes it's going to be used for. The average, everyday American is not going to care if it's not the most accurate thing, as long as its accuracy is good enough. Linnaean Taxonomy's not perfect, I know that. But sometimes 90% is best. I think that's one of these cases. You don't have to agree with me, though. It's all a matter of personal preference. Which classification system is best is subjective. You may think that Evolution-based Taxonomy is best, but I'm just fine with Linnaean. And I can think of just how inaccurate that Evolutionary Taxonomy you speak of really is, based upon your own brief explanation of it. Unless, of course, the explanation itself is flawed, though I highly doubt it is. I can go on forever about why Evolutionary Taxonomy really is. I'll shorten the lecture down to just a few comparisons between Linnaean and Evolutionary Taxonomy in the next section. I assure you, you will think differently about you're statement. Besides, you quoted a Wikipedia article thus: "It then became generally understood that classifications ought to reflect the phylogeny of organisms, the decent by evolution. This cannot be actually known, but can be hypothesized." Emphasis on the last sentence. See section Comparison Between Linnaean Taxonomy and Evolutionary Taxonomy for a more detailed explanation.

--Mast3rlinkx 22:59, 5 December 2009 (UTC)