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Type: Correspondence
Published: 2023-08-10
Page range: 26–26
Abstract views: 399
PDF downloaded: 452

Eliminating slurs from the scientific names of algae, fungi, and plants will cause minimal nomenclatural change

Ria Olivier Herbarium, Department of Botany, Nelson Mandela University, P.O. Box 77000, Gqeberha, 6031 South Africa
Ria Olivier Herbarium, Department of Botany, Nelson Mandela University, P.O. Box 77000, Gqeberha, 6031 South Africa
botanical Code racial slurs

Abstract

It was recently stated in Megataxa that: “Of course, we have a duty to eliminate obviously hurtful and discriminatory words from the scientific lexicon” (Pethiyagoda (2023: 24). However, contrasting with this statement, Pethiyagoda (2023) broadly supports retention of the status quo regarding the present-day names and epithets in use in the biological sciences, and the terminology used in other sciences. With reference to a proposal to amend the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Turland et al. 2018), adoption of which would eliminate epithets with the root ca[f]f[e]r- from the scientific nomenclature in use for algae, fungi, and plants (Smith & Figueiredo 2021), Pethiyagoda (2023: 21) further stated that: “They [Hammer & Thiele (2021)] cite, for example, a proposal by Smith & Figueiredo (2021)”. This statement is not correct. Both Hammer & Thiele (2021) and Smith & Figueiredo (2021) were published on “15 December 2021”, and Hammer & Thiele (2021) could not have cited Smith & Figueiredo (2021). To prevent any misconceptions that might result from Pethiyagoda’s statement, we here note that Hammer & Thiele (2021) and Smith & Figueiredo (2021) were not aware of each other’s work until it was published.

References

  1. Hammer, T.A. & Thiele, K.R. (2021) (119–122) Proposals to amend Articles 51 and 56 and Division III, to allow the rejection of culturally offensive and inappropriate names. Taxon, 70 (6), 1392–1394. [First published: 15 December 2021.] https://doi.org/10.1002/tax.12620

  2. Pethiyagoda, R. (2023) Policing the scientific lexicon: The new colonialism? Megataxa, 10 (1), 20–25. https://doi.org/10.11646/megataxa.10.1.4

  3. Smith, G.F. & Figueiredo, E. (2021) (126) Proposal to add a new Article 61.6 to permanently and retroactively eliminate epithets with the root caf[e]r- or caff[e]r- from the nomenclature of algae, fungi and plants. Taxon, 70 (6), 1395–1396. [First published: 15 December 2021.] https://doi.org/10.1002/tax.12622

  4. Turland, N.J., Wiersema, J.H., Barrie, F.R., Greuter, W., Hawksworth, D.L., Herendeen, P.S., Knapp, S., Kusber, W.-H., Li, D.-Z., Marhold, K., May, T.W., McNeill, J., Monro, A.M., Prado, J., Price, M.J. & Smith, G.F. (2018) International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Shenzhen Code) adopted by the Nineteenth International Botanical Congress Shenzhen, China, July 2017. Koeltz Botanical Books, Glashütten, [Regnum vegetabile 159], 254 pp. https://doi.org/10.12705/Code.201