selling of names

Thu Feb 18 10:04:11 CST 1999

I congratulate Jim Beach on his skill in starting an
interesting discussion. This is a subject with no
right and wrong but lots of heated opinions. Bravo!
   I have two comments:

1) Concerning Anita's statement that "smithii" means
"In honor of Smith" instead of "belonging to Smith:"
On what Classical Latin text are you basing this?
This is indeed the meaning biologists for centuries
have been pretending the word has, but it is not at
all how Cicero would have interepreted it.

2) After Harry S Truman retired from the Presidency
of the United States, someone asked if he would mind
if a statue were erected in his honor. He declined.
"I might still do something to make you want to tear
it down." Scientific names are designed to last centuries,
and short-term considerations should not come into
play. We are stuck with a few organisms named after Hitler
and Mussolini, and there is nothing we can do about
this (actually, I am surprized there are not more of these).
A species named "exxonana" may be viewed in similar light
centuries from now.

I doubt whether many people will take me up on my
suggestion to name species after ancient goddesses,
but I hope few will sell the names at auction. I realize
that the incentive is there to use this to raise
money for noble causes. It is a pity that systematics
and conservation are so poorly funded as to make this so

Dr. Joseph E. Laferriere
"Computito ergo sum ...  I link therefore I am."

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