saving this knowledge for the next person who tries to tell me that one should apply scientific distinctions to the natural-language use of "monkey" and "ape"

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@earthtopus I had a suspicion this was true but never looked it up

what a nice thing to hear it confirmed

@cwebber I have a packet of seeds for those under the name "walking-stick kale" but never had the courage or space to plant them

bug 

@earthtopus could you make it a home for a walking-stick bug where you live?

@earthtopus We had a bunch of weeds that kept grabbing onto and strangling other plants in our yard

"What could they be", I thought

... wild grapes! Who knew grapes were so *vicious*

@cwebber @earthtopus a cabbage tree: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jersey_cabbage

used as livestock fodder, so presumably edible for humans as well, tho possibly less tasty than some other brassicas

@Satsuma @earthtopus I would kind of like to grow one in my garden, but they aren't currently grown in the area, and I guess for all I know they could become invasive. Oh well...

@earthtopus This exact issue caused a LOT of heated arguments in my undergrad anthropology lounge. I maintain that "monkey" is not a meaningful term in any way.

@earthtopus Or at least if it has a meaning it's basically "something we don't want to call a close relative like chimps but isn't as freaking weird as a lemur".

@MrFesser @earthtopus Are there languages other than English that have the concept of "monkey" without borrowing it from English?

Swedish doesn't have it. An "apa" is a simian and the recurring "I'm an ape, not a monkey" jokes in media are untranslateable.

I think a more formal-sounding phrasing of your (correct) monkey definition would be "simians except apes"?
@earthtopus @MrFesser I should have thought of that, I've already been surprised by it once before.

It's funny how the person who presumably grew up with a word for monkey argues for how important the word is!

Of course languages without a word for monkey have a word for ape, that's not the question. The question is whether it's useful to group certain types of simians together for no phylogenic reason. English and Chinese think so, German and Swedish don't.

@earthtopus I'm finding it difficult to keep reading because the line
"Why do trees keep happening?"
took me by surprise and I'm still recovering from it.
It's just such a good subheading.

@earthtopus at first I thought the headline was about phylogenetic trees and it got me confused since I'm an avid reader of John Hawks's writing about gene flow http://johnhawks.net/

Anyway this article is super interesting, thanks for sharing it!

@steko @earthtopus Yeah I thought this would be "the 'tree' of life isn't even a DAG, it's a general graph with gene borrowing in all directions".

This "why do trees keep happening" was far more interesting than what I expected!
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