Intellectualist premise of folk names support their restoration in formal taxonomy
Keywords:Ethnotaxonomy, Folk names, Folk Taxonomy, Species discovery, Taxonomy
In a recent article, Gillman and Wright (2020) have called for a debate on the need for ‘assigning and reinstating’ folk names in taxonomic protocols. This is a commendable proposal, as it would undo the historic injustice meted out to local communities whose knowledge often forms the basis for discovery of new species. Also, assigning exotic names to plants already known to local communities alienates them from the respective taxa and landscapes with which they have historically interacted with. Folk names of flora and fauna are not just names meant to identify taxa, but also condensed forms of local knowledge. Recognizing this intellectualist nature of folk names is the first step towards reinstating them in formal nomenclatures. However, implementing this is an uphill task.
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