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"Buffalo Nickel" Or "Bison Nickel" - Which Is Correct?

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 Posted 08/16/2022  12:17 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Buffalo or Bison nickel?

Prelude:
We the enlightened of the 21st century have a new type trend. We look for ways to correct the ignorance of those who came before us who were so limited in intelligence they were stuck using a horse and buggy technology, never invented an iPhone, and never once played a video game! So is our duty. Those of us having an iPhone in our pocket with which we literally have the world of knowledge at our fingertips, surely need to make corrections reflecting our level of intelligence.

History:
In 1616, the French explorer Samuel De Champlain was shown a drawing and some animal skins by Indians of the Nipissin First Nation. Since Champlain was French, he, for some reason, decided it would not be best to use, let's say, Egyptian or Sinhalese, to describe the animal since his writings were to be published in France. Champlain using his French native tongue (correctly) described/named the animal as a "buffalo" from the (correct) French word beouf meaning ox(like) or beef animal (beouf/beef animal.get it ?).

However, Mr Champlain for some reason, was very unaware of what would happen more than 100 years after this event.

In 1735, another Frenchman named Carolus Linnaeus did something boring to most of us 21st century-enlightened people.

Instead of playing online games, Linnaeus, being an educated man, wasted his time in school not learning how to make an iPhone, but instead, as normally was required in those times, took Latin and Greek...which we of the 21st don't waste time on learning b/c we know we don't need the amazing insight these languages provide into the actual words coming out of our mouths. With his wasted time and energy on Latin and Greek, Linnaeus invented binary taxonomy (what's that? It's one of those Equus caballus and buggy technology era terms), which is the universal system whereby all scientists, regardless of their native languages, can identify the exact same organism using scientific accuracy using only two terms called the genus and the species.

So the "common name" of, "buffalo," was first used to name/describe an animal found in the New World. The name/description was from a (correct) French term used by a learned French man: Beouf. There was no mistake made in the process. There was no current English term in North America at that time.

The only other existing type of buffalo, the European buffalo, also had not yet had the term "bison" applied to it either (more on this later).

The term bison comes from the Greek (one of those ancient languages not worth learning today so we don't make terminology mistakes) Βοσι (Bosi), which strangely (or not) means the same thing as the French word beouf. "Bison" was first associated universally with the American buffalo (and European buffalo) when Linneaus made up his universal and scientifically needed species identification system in 1735. The format was to list the genus and then the species in the following format (Genus species)

ie. Twern't 'til 119 years after buffalo beasties were foun' in America that a sciency-type felluh' helped his friends out in their book larnin' 'n used the word bison thuh 'nitial time tuh describe (in Greek) the exactin' type o' buffalo critter foun' in thuh New World was.

In other words, "American buffalos" were around over 119 years before anyone applied the word bison to them...and then the term was used as "(Bison bison)" (genus Bison species bison) by those concerned with scientific classification/study/identification/literature. BTW, some sources will tell you it was 1750 and not 1735 the system was made b/c the system was not used consistently until the 1750s

As was said, Linnaeus made a technical name for everything as a universal way of indexing living organisms. So here is yet another case of where maybe we, the enlightened of the 21st, should all learn to use that iPhone for something other than texting to find out if things like the "bison only" trend is based on fact (now where IS my Equus and buggy?).

It is technically correct to call a Buffalo nickel a "Bison-type nickel" b/c there are two types of extant critters having such binary taxonomy: The Bison bison (American buffalo) and the Bison bonasus (the European wisent,  European zubr, or European buffalo). Using "Bison-type Nickel" is correct when there needs to be a reference only to the genus (bison) of the animal shown.


Enough already, I don't need to know all of this junk! My iPhone is ringing!

So is it Buffalo or Bison nickel?
It is technically correct to call a Buffalo nickel a Buffalo nickel?
1. Yes, if you are not specifically interested in the scientific classification of the animal.
Or do you call your pet a "felinus" instead of a "cat" (Felinus catus)?
(...The felinus came back, the very same day...")
and your other pet a "canis" instead of a "dog" Canis familiarus?
("....How much is that canis in the window?...")

2. Yes, the first term used in the American English language was adopted from the first White man to see the American Buffalo, and that man named the animal based upon the base/descriptive term in French (like the other ~7,000 French words we use in English)a "Buffalo."

So the term "buffalo" is not a cliche', a connoisseur of the English language understands this and thus likely would not sabotage others' use of the term.

Can you find the 4 French words in the previous sentence?

Is it correct to call the coin a "Bison nickel?"
1. Sure, if your context is talking about species identification using scientific accuracy.
2. But...technically (and this is what we are after - correcting technical error...no?), if the term "Bison nickel" is used, then due to the derivation of the use of the term Bison being taxonomic, we need to be totally correct and call the coin a Bison bison Nickel or a Bison-type Nickel" b/c the REV of the US coin is not showing a Bison bonasus, but specifically the Bison bison: A buffalo (or "American type of genus Bison").

So if you are not in a conversation where it is necessary to specify the exact genus and species of the animal, then the term "buffalo" was the first term used in the English language and is the common, correct term.

Being technically wrong and using the term "Bison Nickel" (not "Bison-type Nickel") is one of those, "yeah, we speak English so we don't worry about our language's rules," type of things.

Which, BTW, I personally think is great or we couldn't say things like, "Cool man.Y' dig!?")


BTW - notice all the italicized taxonomy above? This is being technically correct.
Whenever the binary taxonomic classification is used in print, both genus and species are italicized such as Bison bison. If handwritten then both are underlined such as Bison bison

And so we, the enlightened iPhone carrying (but not using for enlightenment) of the 21st find ourselves de-lighted (y'know - light bulb turned off?) in the area of how our terminology was handed down from the foolishness of the Equus and buggy technology era people who, had they been smart, would have been texting everyone on iPhones rather than laying the foundations upon which our modern enlightened society is based (yet forgetting how much intelligence it took to lay that foundation).

The end.
How much squash could a Sasquatch squash if a Sasquatch would squash squash?
Download and read: Grading the graders
Costly TPG ineptitude and No FG Kennedy halves
https://ln5.sync.com/dl/7ca91bdd0/w...i3b-rbj9fir2
Edited by Earle42
08/16/2022 1:55 pm
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 Posted 08/16/2022  12:24 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Is this the next evolution of numismatic discourse to render the Cent versus Penny debate obsolete?

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 Posted 08/16/2022  1:03 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good point - a penny for anyone's thoughts.
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 Posted 08/16/2022  1:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kbbpll to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Why not just call it the beouf nickel? Our language is filled with French words anyway, and in fact "numismatics" was borrowed in 1792 from the French numismatiques.
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 Posted 08/16/2022  1:39 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Just have not posted the penny vs. cent yet with the references.

For some reason I got on the buffalo kick mentally this morning, it got me out of bed and I had to write it up to get it out of my mind LOL!


Short version: The coin is a Penny - which is why the US mint always has referred to it as such. The coin;s value is a cent (Latin "centum" as in per centum or %), which is why the penny used to have a "1/100" on the back.

But us 21st'ers are largely unaware of this, and so those who don't do homework "correct" others by telling people CENT is an exclusive term.

No Virginia, that's it's value.

How much squash could a Sasquatch squash if a Sasquatch would squash squash?
Download and read: Grading the graders
Costly TPG ineptitude and No FG Kennedy halves
https://ln5.sync.com/dl/7ca91bdd0/w...i3b-rbj9fir2
Edited by Earle42
08/16/2022 1:57 pm
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 Posted 08/16/2022  2:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add january1may to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
AFAIK historically it was known as the Indian head nickel. (Unlike the so-called " Indian Head cent", which features Liberty dressed up in Native American clothes, this nickel type is in fact intended to depict a Native American... of course the term "Indian" for Native Americans is probably worth its own discussion.)

And then there's the debate over whether it can even be called a "nickel", considering that it contains three times as much copper as actual nickel...


On the bison, AFAIK the word "bison" is an alternate spelling of the Polish "wisent", but I don't actually know which spelling came first. In either case it was probably applied to the European zubr before it was applied to any North American animals.
As for the buffalo, my impression was that the prototypical buffalo was actually the African buffalo, Syncerus caffer, but looking it up, it was in fact most likely the Asian water buffalo, Bubalus bubalis. In either case the European and North American species were named later.

In a fair world we'd have borrowed a Native American term for the local megafauna instead (as we did for the moose and the caribou).
Of course there were a lot of different Native American tribes and they mostly would all have used different words (and apparently some of them had different words for males and females of the species, comparable to English "bull" and "cow"). I wonder if we know what the Nipissin First Nation would have called them.
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 Posted 08/16/2022  2:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Why not just call it the beouf nickel? Our language is filled with French words anyway, and in fact "numismatics" was borrowed in 1792 from the French numismatiques.

Beouf is the root word Champlain based his name of the animal upon. Just using beouf would have been something like us referring to every cow-like animal (ox, buffalo, etc.) a "cow."
How much squash could a Sasquatch squash if a Sasquatch would squash squash?
Download and read: Grading the graders
Costly TPG ineptitude and No FG Kennedy halves
https://ln5.sync.com/dl/7ca91bdd0/w...i3b-rbj9fir2
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 Posted 08/16/2022  2:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
AFAIK historically it was known as the Indian head nickel. (Unlike the so-called " Indian Head cent", which features Liberty dressed up in Native American clothes, this nickel type is in fact intended to depict a Native American... of course the term "Indian" for Native Americans is probably worth its own discussion.)

Yes, it was to be the INdian Head Nickel, but for some reason people like American buffalos, so the name Buffalo nickel became the more prominent.

As suggested, I wonder if Champlain, being an educated man in his own time, was not aware of the African buffalo (oxlike - beef animal) and was inspired therefore to name this Animal, for which he had no name, after them? It seems logical.


Quote:
In a fair world we'd have borrowed a Native American term for the local megafauna instead (as we did for the moose and the caribou).
Of course there were a lot of different Native American tribes and they mostly would all have used different words (and apparently some of them had different words for males and females of the species, comparable to English "bull" and "cow"). I wonder if we know what the Nipissin First Nation would have called them.


I read where some of the tribes even had a completely separate term for the cows and bulls. And, let's face it, the French have a tendency, even to this day, to preserve their own language and culture. MAYBE (I don't know) this is why Champlain did not use the term the Indians were sharing with him?

As to the term Indian...yes...correct, they were not from India. I am pretty sure (tongue in cheek there) the horse and buggy people were aware of this as well as all the tribes who used this term for their own cultures (up until some modern trends tried to make a deal out of something the people themselves thought was a pretty stupid thing to worry about.)

But just like today, people use the term Kleenex and Jello for facial tissue and congealed salad respectively. Is it improper?
Nyes and Nyo.

Technically we should use "facial tissue," b/c Kleenex is only a brand name.
Ditto with Jello.

And, I also am not about to think all those American Indians who came before nowadays were not educated because they used the term "Indian" for themselves and their culture. And also, at least with the people I have spoken with from different tribes (Canada and US) who still use the term, these Indians see it is as foolish (and haughty) that once again people not of their ken and culture think they have the right to force such a major change onto them.

How much squash could a Sasquatch squash if a Sasquatch would squash squash?
Download and read: Grading the graders
Costly TPG ineptitude and No FG Kennedy halves
https://ln5.sync.com/dl/7ca91bdd0/w...i3b-rbj9fir2
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 Posted 08/16/2022  2:54 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add HP2001PH to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nitpick: „zubr" is polish, „Wisent" is german.
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 Posted 08/16/2022  3:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add T-BOP to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Just ask Helder ( hfjacinto ) .

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and Jim U. rest in peace .
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 Posted 08/16/2022  3:11 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Go get 'em, Earle! I grew up calling a penny a penny, and a Buffalo nickel a Buffalo nickel. I'm perfectly capable of understanding the nuances offered in all cases, but hain't gonna change my ways for some 21st century snowflakes!!!

I appreciate your wonderful treatise on this subject and will quote it (with proper attribution) in future discussions with my coin collecting friends.

As an aside, I have read quite a bit about the Comanche war chief, Buffalo Hump. For taxonomic accuracy, should we change his name in the texts to Bison Hump? After all, buffalo do not have humps...
"Nummi rari mira sunt, si sumptus ferre potes." - Christophorus filius Scotiae
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 Posted 08/16/2022  3:34 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Technically we should use "facial tissue," b/c Kleenex is only a brand name.
The term you are looking for is generic (or genericized) trademark. The list is long.
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 Posted 08/16/2022  4:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add NumismaticsFTW to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I don't need to read anything posted.

There are no Buffalo's in USA.

Bison is correct, technically.

Having said that, majority calls it the Buffalo nickel.
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 Posted 08/16/2022  4:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hfjacinto to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's a bison nickel, but you call it what you want.
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 Posted 08/16/2022  4:19 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I don't need to read anything posted.


Where is the fun in that?


Quote:
It's a bison nickel, but you call it what you want.
I call it a completed set.
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 Posted 08/16/2022  4:31 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I hope everyone understands this is all in fun. Who really cares what we call it? I'm perfectly happy with either title.
"Nummi rari mira sunt, si sumptus ferre potes." - Christophorus filius Scotiae
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