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TalkScience@BL, March 2009

TalkScience@BL: Engage, Inform, Debate, Inspire

What’s in a Name? - Taxonomy in Crisis

March 2009

‘Classifications are theories about the basis of natural order, not dull catalogues compiled only to avoid chaos.’                                                                  Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life (1989) p98

Rod Page Professor of Taxonomy at Glasgow University, introduced the subject.

The evening addressed some of the following questions:

  • Why does taxonomy matter?
  • Why are taxonomists unhappy, and is it partly their own fault?
  • We don't know how many species remain undescribed but does this matter?
  • Cybertaxonomy and the ‘dance of the initiatives’ – is more money the answer?
  • Mickey mouse and taxonomy – how do we deal with copyright and other obstacles to sharing data?
  • Who would want to be a taxonomist in the 21st century?

Listen to the podcast, or why not continue the conversation now on the dedicated Nature Network forum?

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