[Taxacom] the dark side of taxonomy

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Wed Feb 22 13:06:32 CST 2017

I had an off list question about my use of 'ideology driving taxonomy'. On
reflection this case it might be better the other way around - taxonomy
driving ideology where the taxonomic establishment of certain entities is
interpreted in a certain way that would not be possible if the entities
were considered the same (i.e. if rhesus and Japanese populations were
regarded as the 'same' species then there would be no 'alien' genes). But
of course there have been historical efforts under some ideologies to
create a purported taxonomy of human populations with a view to exclusion
of 'hybrids'.

John Grehan

On Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 9:57 AM, John Grehan <calabar.john at gmail.com> wrote:

> News report http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39040907
> Another case of ideology driving taxonomy. The idea that purity and the
> environment itself is threatened by whatever is declared to be other.
> Hybrids are duly executed (interesting that one web site referred to
> 'killed' while another used the nicer euphemism 'culled') and I once made
> the mistake of criticising conservation policy in New Zealand for such an
> approach (a real career killer). Watch out if you are one day found to have
> the genes of an "invasive alien species".
> John Grehan
> A zoo in northern Japan has culled 57 of its snow monkeys by lethal
> injection after discovering they carried the genes of an "invasive alien
> species".
> Takagoyama Nature Zoo in Chiba said DNA testing showed the monkeys had
> been crossbred with the rhesus macaque.
> The non-indigenous rhesus macaque is banned under Japanese law.
> A local official said they had to be killed to protect the native
> environment.
> The zoo's operator held a memorial service for the snow monkeys' souls at
> a nearby Buddhist temple.
> Japanese macaques, commonly known as snow monkeys, are native to Japan and
> are one of the country's major tourist attractions.
> Japan prohibits the possession and transport of invasive species,
> including crossbreeds.
> An official from the Office for Alien Species Management, part of the
> country's environment ministry, told local media that the culling was
> unavoidable because there were fears they might escape and reproduce in the
> wild.
> Junkichi Mima, a spokesman for conservation group WWF Japan told AFP news
> agency that invasive species cause problems "because they get mixed in with
> indigenous animals and threaten the natural environment and ecosystem".

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