Names for sale

Sven O Kullander ve-sven at NRM.SE
Sat Mar 23 10:25:52 CST 1996

>> b. How ethical is it to sell names of new taxa?

>> c. Wouldn't you like a piece of the cake?

The pet industry has been running honorifics sales for decades. Get a fish,
pay someone, need not be a systematist, just somebody who can write, make
him/her publish it in an obscure journal, and get known as a great
scientist. The validity of the name is unimportant, types and localities are
of little concern, etc. Those names are quite cheap because wannabes climb
on top of each other to put a name on something. The practice is not open
because the whole community actually knows and feel it is unethical. There
is a general feeling that names do have a message to the world, otherwise
names like Hitleria or roosevelti would not be there, and consequently
ethical considerations apply.

If paid personal names become accepted procedure, taxonomists will not
benefit from the gold pouring in. It will go to the really cheap

Sven O Kullander
Sven O Kullander                               e-mail ve-sven at
Senior Curator - Ichthyology                      Tel +46-8-666 4116
Swedish Museum of Natural History                 Fax +46-8-666 4212
POB 50007                                                     GMT +1
S-104 05 Stockholm SWEDEN

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