Modern biologists have trouble with names. They can’t keep up with the 20,000 species of living things newly recognized each year, not to mention the estimated millions that remain to be discovered. That’s the focus of this brilliant book by Michael Ohl, a biologist at the Natural History Museum in Berlin… Taxonomy, as revealed through Ohl’s expert commentary, displays both the wisdom and the wit of the artful scientists who practice it.—Natural History—
The history and practice of scientific naming is both presented as well as mused extensively upon with the intention of showing that far from being rigid and staid, the way in which names are assigned to species, as well as occasionally modified, is rich in creativity, cleverness, humor, and even at times used for the settling of scores.
—The Well-Read Naturalist
Detailed but engaging…The rules and traditions of taxonomy prove more flexible, even chaotic, than the lay reader is apt to imagine.
, Inside Higher Ed
Ohl is at his best in the book’s final chapters, where he merges linguistics, philosophy, and biology together in a consideration of some particularly unusual matters of taxonomy.
—Gregory R. Goldsmith