Scientists call for ditching ‘sexist’ dinosaur names — RT World News

The researchers also said they want new, more comprehensive guidelines for naming species

German paleontologists have called for an overhaul of the system used to name dinosaurs, saying the current nomenclature contains nearly 100 names. “Potentially offensive” The journal Nature reported on Tuesday, citing the team's as-yet-unpublished paper.

A group of researchers analyzed the names of every dinosaur fossil from the Mesozoic era, which has been identified as dating between 251.9 million and 66 million years ago, and combed through 1,500 species for names they considered… “Resurfaced racism and sexism, named after (neo)colonial contexts or controversial figures.”

They found 89 “Problematic” Species, by nature, amount to less than 3% of the names analyzed. The researchers explained that one type of dinosaur could be considered a problem simply because its name is based on the colonial name of the region in which the fossil was discovered, and they expressed their regret about that. “Names of places or researchers are often not used in the original language or are mistranslated.”

“The problem in terms of numbers is really insignificant. But it is important in terms of importance.” Paleontologist Evangelos Vlachos of the Egidio Ferroglio Museum of Paleontology, who co-authored the paper with the German team led by Emma Dunn of the Friedrich-Alexander University, insisted.

“We are not saying that we need to change everything tomorrow. But we need to critically review what we did, find out what we did well and what we did not do well, and try to correct it in the future. Vlachos told Nature, calling on the field of paleontology to change the way it labels new discoveries.

In particular, the authors of the paper called for doing away with pseudonymization – the naming of species with human names – which has become increasingly common in the past two decades. They also complained that 87% of the endings of gender-related nouns for species were masculine. Instead, they said, paleontologists should choose names that describe the creature being named, such as Triceratops, whose name is based on Greek words meaning “A face with three horns.”

However, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), which has established loose guidelines for naming species, is categorically opposed to banning nicknames and would not consider renaming “hurtful” Classify “Unless there are what might be called formal nomenclatural reasons,” The organization's president, Thomas Pape of the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, told Nature magazine. The group currently only requires that a new dinosaur's name be unique, associated with a single specimen, and announced for publication.

Dunne insisted she was not trying to provide more work for academics in the field, and called on the International Center for Astrophysics (ICZN) to… “Do better and be more representative of the community.”

Last year, the American Ornithological Society announced a radical overhaul of its nomenclature system, promising to drop all English names for bird species that currently carry people's names, as well as any other bird names that could be considered offensive or less than inclusive.

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