Doubling Up Biological Names

UPDATE: I wrote this tiny snippet back in the day and a long time ago discovered that they’re called tautonyms, they basically represent the “type” of a given genus. I wrote about it recently with respect to the many birds that I’ve photographed with tautonymic binomials.

Rattus rattus (black rat) is coming to a town near you, while Gallus gallus (wild chicken) has got scientists all in a flap (you’ll find out why later this week). Then there’s Bubo bubo (the eagle owl)…and many others.

Can any biologist Sciencebase reader explain to me why there are so many species where the scientific binomial (commonly referred to as the “Latin” name) is like this, the first and second part being the same? I’m sure I’ve missed something obvious, but surely it’s not simply a lack of imagination.