I am so weary of people trying to change both the common and Latin names of species because doing so will magically render biology more inclusive. But I have yet to find a single person who left the field, or refused to enter it, because species were named after people, odious or otherwise. In the … Continue reading More calls for not naming species after people
I’ve written several times about the current drive to rename plant and animal species, usually on the grounds that their common or scientific names reflect somebody in the past who did something bad, like owning slaves. (Most of this drive has involved bird names.) In general I’m not a huge fan of changing common names, … Continue reading Once again: should we rename animal species?
There have been two new papers, both in once-respectable evolution journals, arguing that species names—both common names (“Bachman’s warbler”) and scientific names, or Latin binomials (“Vermivora bachmanii)”—should be eliminated from scientific discourse on two grounds. First, species are often named after people who did bad stuff (e.g., Bachman, Audubon), and it is not “inclusive” to … Continue reading More on eliminating species names derived from human names
As you know, all officially recognized species have both a common name and a Latin binomial. I, for example, am a human (common name), but also a member of the species Homo sapiens (official binomial), and I used to work on the fruit fly or vinegar fly (common name), known officially as Drosophila melanogaster (meaning … Continue reading ICZN: we won’t change animals’ Latin (“scientific”) names, even if they’re considered offensive
My criteria for deciding whether a name should be kept, or a statue left up, are twofold: the good that the person’s life did outweighs the bad, and the name or statue is in honor of the good. Although there have been calls for John James Audubon’s name to be taken off everything (including his … Continue reading Audubon Society decides to keep its name
Today’s photos are from Athayde Tonhasca Júnior, and the topic is biological nomenclature: how these creatures were named. Do read all the captions. The descriptions are of course from Athayde, and are indented. You can enlarge the photos by clicking on them. This beetle had the bad luck of being described in 1937 by Oskar … Continue reading Readers’ wildlife photos
The American Ornithological Society has issued a Diktat that all common bird names derived from a person’s name, or “eponyms,” are going to be discarded and replaced with descriptive names. The Latin binomials or “scientific names”, however, are not going to be changed. Below is the order from on high; click on headline below to … Continue reading They’re going to change the common names of all birds named after people
Let me begin by trying to note what’s good about this new article in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, for Dan Dennett suggests, properly, that one should credit one’s opponents with the good and correct things they say before taking issue with the other stuff. First, the article below is motivated by good sentiments: the … Continue reading On the harm, violence, and danger of wrongspeak in ecology and evolution