Why it’s time to stop naming new species after people

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 20:03 in Biology & Nature

Anophthalmus hitleri, a cave beetle named after Adolf Hitler, has become a target for some collectors. London's Natural History Museum/Flickr This article was originally published on Undark. George Washington’s palm tree. Thomas Jefferson’s sloth. Edward Harris’s hawk. Quite a few species come with a person’s name attached to them. Sometimes these names — formally known as eponyms — memorialize the original collector. Sometimes it’s a scientist’s family member, a benefactor or government leader, a colleague, or even a celebrity. According to one official estimate, eponyms make up around 20 percent of all animal names in use. Many species got their eponyms during the early days of scientific collecting, which was partially fueled by the broader colonization programs of European powers throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Over the past few years, however,...

Read the whole article on PopSci

More from PopSci

Latest Science Newsletter

Get the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!

Check out our next project, Biology.Net