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CNN:(modern)Audubon bird nomenclature
Audubon Society to Let Top Bidder Name New Bird Species
15-FEB-99 DALLAS (AP)
This auction is for the birds.
The Texas Audubon Society plans to sell the rights to name a new
species of bird that was recently discovered to the highest bidder next
month. The group will use the money for bird conservation efforts in
Texas and Brazil.
Bret Whitney, a bird expert and co-owner of an Austin-based nature
tour company, discovered the new type of bird during a recent expedition
in the Amazon region of western Brazil.
According to tradition, Whitney has the right to name the species.
Instead, he donated that right to the Texas Audubon Society, which is
auctioning the right March 5 at its 100th anniversary celebration in
Organizers don't believe any species name has ever been bought or
Past discoverers have honored loved ones or colleagues by using
Latinized versions of their names as species names, said Noreen Damude,
director of bird conservation for the Texas Audubon.
In addition to the naming rights, the winning bidder gets photographs
of the bird, a tape recording of its call and an original oil painting
of a male and female of the species.
Ms. Damude said she expects that some scientific purists will object
to the idea of hawking a bird's name as if it were an antique sofa. But
one authority on environmental ethics said he thinks Audubon is in the
"I'd say that as long as the person who discovered the thing is
agreeable, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it," said Dr.
Eugene Hargrove, director of the Center for Environmental Philosophy at
the University of North Texas in Denton.
That is, he added, "unless it produced a really stupid name."
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