The Lost Art of Naming the World
August 27, 2009
Recently, I read an article in the New York Times by Carol Kaesuk Yoon called "Reviving the Lost Art of Naming the World". The article was accompanied by the image above by naturalist Ernst Haekel from his "Artforms in Nature", showing a profusion of hummingbird species. The article, which can be found here, is about the decline of the field of taxonomy. It goes on to explore the reasons for it's decline, the implications of that, and digs a little deeper into what is behind the human impulse to sort and name the natural world. Yoon laments ( and rightfully so I think) that by abandoning taxonomy we are losing a connection to and a place in the living world. Having an awareness of the variety of life around us affirms our place in it. So start your reconnection this weekend by finding an insect, and looking it up on here or a bird and finding it's name here. Make Carl Linneaus proud.