Linnaeus's Last Stand?

Jim Croft jrc at ANBG.GOV.AU
Sat Mar 31 08:04:04 CST 2001

>Names are how systematists announce their new discoveries and how they
>recognize accomplishments.


>But for those who work on well known groups (birds, butterflies, and
>flower plants), the focus is on REAL science, macroevolution, the
>relationships among those already described species. So there is a need
>for a new system, so that they can name new things (clades, nodes, etc.)
>and be recognized, etc.

This is sarcasm, right?

Naming taxa is not about ego, self promotion and self aggrandizement, or at
least it is not supposed to be.  It is about facilitating lucid scientific

Taxonomic names are agreed, unique, unambiguous, arbitrary handles for real
world objects and concepts, hopefully easy to remember, to help biologists
and their clients break the curse of Babel.

It it is recognition we crave, we should get it through discovering or
inventing something new, advancing knowledge through 'REAL science', not by
pouring the old wine into new bottles and slapping a different labels on
them (analogy not invented but rebottled shamelessly from Peter Stevens).


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