Do you encounter a lot of Elmers or Mildreds these days? Probably not, as the video below explains, as baby names change over time and (at least in the US) reflect the current culture (hence, a lot of Harrys and Hermiones, as well as Lunas — but oddly not Rons — as those raised on the popular book series become parents). There’s an interesting parallel suggested with the process of genetic drift, as names become popular and “mutate”, taking on variant spellings which, if successful, replicate further and spread through the population. Also of interest in this piece on anthroponyms is the increased popularity of androgynous names, but this is strictly unidirectional with male names becoming common for female children, but the other direction is only rarely seen. Personally, I’m looking forward to a future filled with young Furiosas and Homelanders.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


4 Thoughts on "The Genetic Drift of Baby Names"

Any comment from SK on the upcoming Strike at Nature? Seems more important to discuss than baby names. Or is SK, as usual, ignoring the problems of editorial staff in companies as it always favors company-side/business purposes instead?

Interesting place to leave this comment. Not sure it will be seen by many. To be clear, our Friday posts are meant to be lighthearted, a break as we head into the weekend.

Choice of subject matter for posts is up to the individual authors, and I would take issue with there being any “as usual” at TSK, as there is no official party line and an increasing number of our posts are written by guest authors who are free to express any viewpoint they wish (within reason). Speaking of which, if this is an important issue which you feel deserves more attention, please do get in touch and consider writing a guest post about it. Details on the process are here:

Comments are closed.