alias possum -> opossum

Posted under Tags

ion288 said:

Eh, no. They are different animals.
Opossums are North american and possums are Australian.

In north american english, possum and opossum are synonyms. It's true though that they're different animals and look different. Maybe rename them to american_opossum and australian_possum?

It'd probably be best to alias opossum to possum. It is accurate that on the technical level opossum refers to the marsupials belonging to the order of Didelphimorphia (Wikipedia) native to North and South America, and possum refers to the suborder Phalangeriformes (Wikipedia) native to Australia, New Guinea, and Sulawesi. The issue though is that both groups are relatively large and must share similar niches as browsing the different kinds that exist in each group shows that there is overlap in appearance. Given this, it would make sense to leave the actual differentiation between groups to a wiki and simply visually lump the two groups together. The choice of using "possum" would be due to the fact that the term can readily refer to both groups (Wikipedia), in North American English opossum is also recognized as having a possible pronunciation which can drop the o (Merriam-Webster) and in some cases people spell it as 'possum to recognize dropping the o. Trying to visually separate the two groups would be no different then splitting between tanuki ears and raccoon ears.

As for the specific animal in opossum currently, that would be of the Virginia opossum (also known as the North American opossum, wikipedia) which is the only opossum living North of Mexico. The animal itself is recognizable enough to warrant its own tag at least, though I would have no issues supporting having it implicate possum.