New Research Spotlights The Inequity Of Species Names
A case study published in the journal Biological Conservation examined more than 650 plants on the remote islands of New Caledonia in the South-West Pacific. It found that only 6% of the species were named after women, and only 7% had been named after people born on the islands.
"Is that fair to name a species after someone from a place that he's never been to?" asks the study's author, biologist Yohan Pillon.
Instead, Pillon argues that conservation science should be more inclusive, and naming species is a chance to acknowledge the diversity of individuals who have contributed to our understanding of the natural world.
"Areas of high biodiversity often overlap with areas of high linguistic diversity, but the links among biodiversity and cultural and linguistic diversity are often underappreciated," Pillon wrote in the study. "To promote the preservation of biodiversity, species should be named with an eye toward how these names will be perceived by the local communities involved."
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