Adding local indigenous language names to flora and fauna

True, though English common names aren’t what I had in mind for ‘common names with centuries of use’ in Australia, though I guess 2 centuries would technically be plural.

While not true in all cases, for other cases it objectively is. For example there is the proposal to simply delete Taraxacum officinale as the scientific name for common dandelions without replacing it in North America because European taxonomists don’t like that name and no one outside of inaturalist is particularly interested in giving North American dandelions hundreds of microspecies names. In that case ‘common dandelion’ will become the only English-language descriptor of dandelion species in North America, so it is fair to say it is safer to trust the common name as stable.


Like that we gotta want scientific names only? Oh, sorry, you didn’t say that. You said

So who gets to decide whose names don’t get to be used? What is the cutoff for “too local to count”?


Thanks for doing this. People like you make me proud to be on this forum.


Love this Nick! I wish I had a list of First Nations names for all the creatures here, but have only a few so far. My question is, given there may be different names for the same creature found in different locations, would each name be added?

1 Like

Partially true, but its still important to show respect for other cultures.

I think iNat has a good system to deal with the abundance of common names. Not all of them are shown, and most of the time the name that is shown is the right one.

On the other hand though, I don’t love it where indigenous names are prioritized over the more commonly used names which doesn’t happen much on iNaturalist yet, but it pops up occasionally and more often on platforms like ALA. Many indigenous names are already common and well used (marri, jarrah, Dugite, banjine, the list goes on), and that’s great but I hope we don’t start changing the names as a (very late) gesture of ‘respect’.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a huge fan of adding indigenous names to help preserve them, and I might start doing it in my area too but I don’t want us to take it too far.

We will each define that - so far and no further - differently.

The joy of online is that we can search by the name we know and remember, and find our way to today’s official name. But those names in ‘my other’ languages need to be searchable beyond the handful of language sites iNat offers.

We have a personal setting for common names in ‘my region’. And are waiting to be able to personalise that further to - my region and in my chosen language.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.