Selling species (from today's Science)

John Noyes jsn at NHM.AC.UK
Tue Jan 25 11:02:21 CST 2000

Dear Taxacomers,

I think this is definitely a step in the wrong direction! It may be
beneficial in the short term to sell names, and others that run similar
ventures, but consider also what might happen in the long term if this sort
of thing really does become economically viable. It could lead to abuse by
all sorts of "taxonomic cowboys" who want to make a quick buck and sell
names without consideration for the catastophic mess they may be creating.
We seem to be plagued already by isolated inadequate, descriptions of taxa
for no real purpose. This sort of thing could so easily make things even
worse as well as giving systematics a bad press. It will be interesting to
see if there is any wider reaction to this posting in Science.


At 06:21 PM 1/21/2000 EST, you wrote:
>The list may be interested in the following news item from today's Science
>(287:  421):
>Researchers Cash In on Personalized Species Names
>Sabine Steghaus-Kovac
>In return for a donation to biodiversity research, you can now have a
>previously unknown species named after you and recorded in the scientific
>literature for perpetuity. The scheme, dubbed BIOPAT, was registered last
>week as a nonprofit organization in Germany. Its founders hope it will become
>a valuable source of funding for the unglamorous fields of systematics and
>taxonomy, as well as supporting conservation in the new species' home
>I always wondered how I could get a species named after me without all that
>tedious work!
>Mark Garland
>Florida Department of Environmental Protection
>2600 Blair Stone Road, Mail Station 2500
>Tallahassee, Florida 32399

John S. Noyes, Entomology Department, The Natural History Museum, South
Kensington, London, SW7 5BD, UK

Tel. +44 (0)207-942-5594  Fax: +44 (0)207-942-5229

INTERNET: jsn at

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