"selling names"

Robin Leech robinl at CONNECT.AB.CA
Tue Jan 25 22:00:43 CST 2000

Atwood.  Atwood.  Ah, yes, Monarch butterflies, no?  I knew that!
Robin Leech

----- Original Message -----
From: Laurie Consaul <LCONSAUL at MUS-NATURE.CA>
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2000 7:10 PM
Subject: Re: "selling names"

> The Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, has a program called the Nature
Discovery Fund that was launched in December 1998, partly to make money for
a biosystematics fund, but mainly to promote systematics. (Dr. Bob Anderson
was describing new species from South America anyway, so it did not seem
unreasonable to try promoting taxonomy and biodiversity to the public by
offering a name in exchange for a donation).
> Interestingly, the first bug to be "sponsored" was by the novelist
Margaret Atwood. She donated for a weevil to be named after her father, who
was an entomologist (a little known fact to some biologists!).  Being
televised and on radio, this event, if briefly, brought home systematics to
(at least some) Canadians. If your are curious, have a look at
> or http://www.nature.ca/francais/natfundf.htm. This fund is never going to
make millions, but maybe it is not necessarily a bad idea. It will be
interesting to see how the feedback is. If misused, of course, problems
might occur.
> Minerals are not included in this fund, because payment for names is
unethical in the field of mineralogy (because of commercial value).
> If a taxon were named for a donor before it went extinct, the benefit of
biodiversity studies, and results of habitat destruction, might become more
visible (personal). (The name would still be in perpetuity).
> As far as potential synonymy of a name, contracts could be drawn up if the
donation price was high enough.  (Alternatively, the contribution could be
considered like a stock market investment, with all the inherent risks.
Picture folks following taxonomy and nomenclature (as well as their mutual
fund reports) to see whether their name is still unsynonymized!)
> Laurie Consaul
> Laurie L. Consaul
> Research Division, Canadian Museum of Nature
> Box 3443, Station D, Ottawa, ON, Canada
> (613) 364-4074, Fax 364-4027
> >>> Neal Evenhuis <neale at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG> 01/24/00 09:56PM >>>
> >A species is never synonymized, a name is.   It would be important only
> >"your" name was a junior synonym.
> >If it is a senior synonym, it sticks.
> Touche --
> However, philosophically speaking, a species can be synonymized if it
> dies out, say, due to human intervention. Then it becomes synonymous
> with "extinct".
> :)
> Neal Evenhuis

More information about the Taxacom mailing list