Nature & Environment
Natural history specimens have wrong names
By T.K. Randall
November 17, 2015 · 6 comments
Many specimens are incorrectly named. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Mike Peel / mikepeel.net
Researchers have revealed that half of all natural history specimens in museums are incorrectly labeled.
Identifying which species a specimen belongs to among the countless thousands that exist in the world can be a daunting task, especially when more of them are being discovered all the time.
Now according to a new study by scientists at Oxford University and the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, around 50% of all the plant and animal specimens in natural history museums around the world have been incorrectly identified.
"Many areas in the biological sciences, including academic studies of evolution and applied conservation, are underpinned by accurate naming," said Dr Robert Scotland .
"Without accurate names on specimens, the records held in collections around the world would make no sense, as they don’t correspond to the reality outside."
Part of the problem is that in many cases specimens are distributed to several museums where different experts take on the task of identification - often making errors in the process.
"We think a conservative estimate is that up to half the world’s natural history specimens could be incorrectly named," said study lead author Zoë Goodwin.
Source: Yahoo! News
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