[Taxacom] Fwd: Nature needs names: 60 new dragonflies from Africa

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Sun Dec 13 23:14:27 CST 2015

Oh, and by the way... I spent a few hours going through the Odonata paper in some detail yesterday and I have to say that, speaking as one of the 0.000002% of the world's population who is a taxonomist, I was extremely impressed with the quality of the work (to whatever extent an ichthyologist can evaluate an entomological paper). Each species description spans several pages and includes robust information on taxonomic context, material studied, both genetic and morphological data, and range & ecology, and each description also includes multiple figures (including color) and an etymology section. The seven pages of introductory text are extremely well-written and covers a wide range of important topics that we often ramble endlessly about here on Taxacom, such as why naming species is important for conservation, why taxonomy needs more support, and why species MATTER (for understanding history, environment, evolution, and for humanity).  So it seems to me that the authors did a superb job both scientifically, and from the perspective of drawing people's attention to the issues that really matter.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Stephen Thorpe [mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz]
> Sent: Sunday, December 13, 2015 11:15 AM
> To: 'Stephen Thorpe'; deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
> Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Fwd: Nature needs names: 60 new dragonflies from
> Africa
> Rich,
> I didn't say significance of the taxonomy TO WHOM! Also, I very much doubt
> that policy-makers get their information from the popular media!
> Stephen
> --------------------------------------------
> On Mon, 14/12/15, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:
>  Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Fwd: Nature needs names: 60 new dragonflies	from
> 	Africa
>  To: "'Stephen Thorpe'" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
>  Received: Monday, 14 December, 2015, 10:04 AM
>  Sorry.... one more, then
>  I'll shut up:
>  > So, I
>  was just suggesting that media coverage should be  proportional to the  >
> significance of the  taxonomy, and elevating 60 new dragonflies out of all  >
> proportion seems wrong to me.
>  I would argue that media
>  coverage should be proportional to the likelihood that it  will actually influence
> non-biologists (particularly  policy-makers).  There is a poor (perhaps even
> inverse?)  correlation between what a good taxonomist will find of  significance,
> and what will be significant to the rest of  the 99.999998% of the
> population.  We don't need the  media coverage to inspire the ~15,000
> taxonomists of the  world; it's the other 7 billion (ish) that we're  trying to
> engage.
>  Aloha,
>  Rich

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