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Eponyms have no place in 21st-century biological nomenclature

We argue that naming species in honour of a specific person is unjustifiable and out of step with equality and representation. Reforming taxonomy to remove eponyms will not be easy but could bring multiple benefits for both conservation and society.

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Fig. 1: Number of eponym species in relation to the commemorated person’s profession and/or relation to the describing author.
Fig. 2: Proportions of eponym species in Africa and origins of their names.


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Partial support for P.G., F.A.-M., J.M.A. and R.J.L. came via the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 854248. A.M.C.S. was supported by a ‘Ramón y Cajal’ Fellowship (RYC2020-029407-I) of the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. R.A.C. acknowledges financial support from the KONE Foundation (grant no. 202101976) and the Academy of Finland (grant no. 348352).

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Correspondence to Richard J. Ladle.

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Guedes, P., Alves-Martins, F., Arribas, J.M. et al. Eponyms have no place in 21st-century biological nomenclature. Nat Ecol Evol (2023).

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