[iczn-list] Insect patronym auction (>$10,000)

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Fri Jul 15 13:38:09 CDT 2005

I can agree with Rich in some respects, but this practice could work against
improved cataloging.  From the posting I might infer that the ant taxonomist is
holding one or more species "in reserve" until such time as a sufficiently
endowed donor appears.  Such action (if it were to occur) could slow down the
process of cataloging and could lead to a situation in which the species is
named after it goes extinct.

Dick J.

Richard Pyle wrote:

> > It was inevitable. It's legitimate, and for charity, but what
> > do we do when people start doing this fraudulently, and for
> > profit? The slippery slope has begun, and I once again urge
> > the ICZN to think hard and fast about setting the limits
> > *before* things get out of control.
> What's the harm?  I mean really -- what's the harm?  There are a LOT more
> species out there in need of names, than there are people willing to fork
> over $10K for the privilege.  I suppose there is always the risk that
> certain charismatic megafauna (mammals, birds, loch ness monsters, etc.)
> might get over-described to appease big-money donors -- but I don't see this
> as more than an immeasurable blip lost in the noise of "legitimate"
> synonymy.
> The professional motivation to name new species (more publications, more
> authored names) already exists, and is already substantial -- yet excessive
> overdescription doesn't seem to be a leading problem for taxonomy.  A much
> bigger problem for taxonomy -- MUCH bigger -- is insufficient funding.
> We, as taxonomists, shouldn't really care what the literal name of a species
> epithet is, nearly as much as we care that biodiversity gets cataloged (as
> long as there is not too much overdescription).
> If the slippery slope leads to greater funding for taxonomy without
> significant compromise to scientific integrity, then where do I go to get on
> the slide?
> Aloha,
> Rich
> Richard L. Pyle, PhD
> Ichthyology, Bishop Museum
> 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
> Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
> email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
> http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/pylerichard.html

Richard J. Jensen              | tel: 574-284-4674
Department of Biology      | fax: 574-284-4716
Saint Mary's College         | e-mail: rjensen at saintmarys.edu
Notre Dame, IN 46556    | http://www.saintmarys.edu/~rjensen

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