Journal article

an analysis of Rofaifo mammal taxonomy

PD DWYER

American Ethnologist | American Anthropological Association | Published : 1976

Abstract

Analysis of a New Guinea folk classification of mammals reveals considerable correspondence for entities perceived and labeled by folk and scientific zoologists, but notable differences in the cognitive status accorded those entities in the two classificatory systems. The cognitive status of folk categories may be best understood in a relativistic frame rather than by assigning them to fixed positions within a formalized hierarchy of conceptual states. Taxonomic evolution has been dominated by shifts in the conceptual level for archetypal categories, with upgrading of categories more frequent than the reverse. Categories with connotative rather than denotative referents seem to be appropriat..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

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