Sunday, December 12, 2010

Our Name

I've read a newspaper everyday, perhaps starting with the "funny papers" when I was first learning to read. We didn't have much of a library in our household when I was being formed in Stockdale and Devine, but we always had the San Antonio Express-News, complimented with the San Antonio Light bought at George Vernon Schott's convenience store on Sunday (and of course, several farm magazines). I learned from Paul Thompson and Jack Anderson, and enjoyed Dan Cook and Dan Klepper. ... In more recent years I appreciated immensely, Carlos Guerra and Rick Casey, and here in Seguin it was Michael Cary.

I don't always agree with the learned historical scholar, T.R. Fehrenbach, but I very much enjoy and always learn from his columns in the San Antonio Express-News each Sunday. Today I appreciated his piece on "Homo sapiens." (We aren't as smart as we like to believe")

T.R. Fehrenbach provokes by suggesting alternatives for our Latin name ... as have others (e.g., William Catton, Jr. and "Homo colossus" in Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change.). In his column, historian Fehenbach briefly discusses suggestions by others (Zoon politikon, Homo economicus) and after hinting that Homo bellicosus may be an appropriate name, finally settles on Homo sap.

This brought back memories of a visit to Sul Ross State University in beautiful Alpine, Texas in the late 1980s, where a retired Marine and Range Science professor--as I recollect--gave a lively lecture on the very challenging impacts to date of humans on the ecosphere. This outspoken flat-topped former Marine thought Homo saphead was an appropriate name for our species.

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