$pecies names

Luis Diego Gomez ldgomez at NS.OTS.AC.CR
Fri Feb 13 15:58:43 CST 1998

Dear fellow taxacomers,

Several years ago, mid-80's, I dedicated a new species of fern to a sweet
old lady who made a big donation to our national park system for
The naming of the sapecies came after the fact of the donation and was never
conditioned to any monetary transaction.

The fundraising group "suggested" to potential donors we were entertaining
or brainwashing at the time, the possibility of having "this or that new
thing" named after them. However, the glamour of having your name
immortalized in a botanical binomial never sold.

Not too long ago, the local airlines got a moth species dedicated when their
planes transported a large collection of Schmidt boxes of Costa Rican moths
back to their country after experts had gone through them doing taxonomy. It
got quite a press coverage. However, LACSA Airlines has not done it again.

There is nothing inherently wrong in offering a patron to name something
after her/him/it. All major explorations in the past have been sponsored by
magnates or their businesses and as Lammers point out, things of all groups
have been named after them even when the donor was not even amateurishly
interested in what was going on. Being interested helps to make them donate.

If we charge for doing taxonomy as consultants, or by receiving a salary for
doing taxonomy in bulk (at museums, for example) why not name a plant or
animal to honor those who give to keep us going?

Even the hypothetical case of an unemployed taxonomist (maybe not so
hyppothetical) who advertises something like:" Species names for sale"
should not get frowened upon if his/her taxonomyis good and serves the main
goal of science which is, after all, the cataloging of things living. I
doubt that would be a profitable enterprise, though.
Luis Diego Gomez
Academia Nacional de Ciencias, Costa Rica
Director, Estacion Las Cruces & Wilson Botanic Garden
Organization for Tropical Studies, Inc.
Mail ldgomez at ns.ots.ac.cr
Facsimile: ++ (506)- 773-3665
Telephone: ++ (506)- 773-4004

P.O.Box 73- 8257 Coto Brus, Costa Rica

Interlink 341. POBox 025635
Miami, FL 33102-5635

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