Friday, July 27, 2018



Besides naming nearly 8,000 plants with his binomial system – genus then species – Linnaeus also coined the name Homo sapiens, and he considered himself the “type” specimen. The Latin word homo or hominis means “human being,” while sapiens means “discerning, wise, sensible.” Therefore Homo sapiens is a word misnomer, as most people I've met are none of the above. Evidence of that, at least in America, is when you consider the politicians that voters have put into office.

Homo neanderthalensis

William King
Ernst Haeckel
Related to Homo sapiens was Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis who went extinct about 40,000 years ago. The type specimen is Neanderthal I found in the Neander Valley just east of Dusseldorf, Germany. That the type specimen extended to a group – Neanderthal Man – was a concept first proposed by the Anglo-Irish geologist William King in 1864 who thought the group was distinct enough from Homo sapiens to warrant a separate species. King's name held priority over Ernst Haeckel's proposal two years later (1866) to name the Neanderthal Man Homo stupidus. See again paragraph above.

Whether you like it or not there is evidence of interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals. DNA is found in the genome of contemporary populations in Europe and Asia, estimated between 1% and 6%, while it is absent from most modern populations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Yep – we mated with the knuckle-draggers, and it probably went both ways...i.e. your sister did it too.

The word people is from Old French peupel, and that from Latin populus for “a people, nation, body of citizens; a multitude, crowd, throng.” Populus is also the source of Spanish pueblo and Italian popolo. I sometimes refer to the Buchholz Nursery employees as “my people,” and though they are generally hard working, it is obvious that I care about them more than they care about me. With friends, if we are planning something, I'll say, “My people will be in contact with your people,” knowing full well that neither of us is important enough to have contact people.

John Lennon
Jesus Christ

The most famous person ever is not necessarily the most important person ever. “We're more popular than Jesus” was a remark made by John Lennon of The Beatles in a 1966 interview, then he added that Christianity would end before rock music. He also said that “Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.”


George Washington
Abraham Lincoln

King Henry VIII
Queen Victoria
Queen Elizabeth II

Isaac Newton

Steve Jobs
Charles Darwin

Leonardo da Vinci
Thomas Edison

Albert Einstein

Cai Lun
Johannes Gutenberg
If you leave religion out of it, I wonder what the vote would be for the most important person ever. Would it be Napoleon or Hitler? Is George Washington ahead of Abraham Lincoln, or vice versa? What about Queen Victoria or Elizabeth I of England or Henry VIII of England? Steve Jobs or Charles Darwin or Isaac Newton? William Shakespeare or Mark Twain? Leonardo da Vinci or Thomas Edison? Mozart or The Rolling Stones or Beethoven? Oops – don't want to leave out Albert Einstein. Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but then Cai Lun (or Ts'ai Lun) invented modern paper in the first place (100-150 AD).
William Shakespeare
Mark Twain


The Rolling Stones

Vladimir Putin

Kim Jong Un

All of these people were important or significant, and I'm sure that many of you would champion someone else. Ex-President Obama would probably vote for himself, but then so would Donald Trump. Don't forget Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un.


I guess my choice for the most important non-religious person is Aristotle, but I won't go into why, not today anyway. I know that most of you don't care, and that I should be writing about plants, not people. If that is true, I ask, then why do most of you skip the Flora Wonder Blog text and just look at the photos?

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