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Type: Article
Published: 2021-12-17
Page range: 93–97
Abstract views: 449
PDF downloaded: 317

A reply to ‘Science versus vernacular’: should some taxa of animals and plants be renamed according to ‘indigenous’ practices?

rone Lab, Faculty of Design and Creative Technology, Auckland University of Technology, St Paul Street, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Symonds Street, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
Binomina chronological priority Indigenous names Indigenous Peoples


Palma & Heath (2021) have recently commented on our proposal to reinstate indigenous names within the Linnaean system of nomenclature on the basis of their chronological priority. They argue that this challenges rules that have been unquestioned for 250 years. However, we hold that the rules of the various codes of nomenclature are constantly under review. The opinion they prosecute crystallises down, in large part, to one that suggests that because there are pre-existing rules about priority, we should not change these: an argument that involves a degree of circularity. Unfortunately, Palma and Heath misinterpret our proposal throughout much of their discussion. We do not advocate replacing the binomina as is claimed nor do we advocate for name changes where there is no consensus on a given taxon among the people indigenous to the natural distribution of that taxon. Our proposal is that indigenous names can replace the species epithet where there is a consensus on a single indigenous name for a taxon throughout its distribution and where there is demonstrable temporal priority. Without such consensus, species that cover wide distributions and have multiple indigenous names will, under our proposal, remain unchanged in their nomenclature.


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