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Answered 2011-08-26 17:35:12

Scientific names are exact. They tell us the genus and species that the animal or plant belongs to and only one scientific name is given to each species. Common names, on the other hand, are abundant with many species having two or more common names. Let's look at the cougar as an example. Its scientific name is Puma concolor. It's common names include cougar, Florida panther, panther, puma, catamount and mountain lion. A puma is neither a panther nor a lion. It is in a genus that it shares with the jaguarundi so you can see where confusion would come in.

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