Removing Homo sapiens from reportable taxa

So, I realize that Homo sapiens is a major species on the planet, but we are looking for a way to exclude it from reportable taxa, because we’ve noticed people taking photos of people’s butts and uploading them in their projects under Homo sapiens, which appears to be a waste of time and resources.

Is there any way to address this issue?


Michael Bear
Ocean Sanctuaries


People are still going to take pictures of each other and upload them. Without an ID option for “humans”, the photos will all be categorized as “unknown” or other species, which seems like a worse scenario than the current one. (Correctly identified) Human observations are already excluded in the default site filters, and they’re easily filtered out from an export or collection project settings.


We found that Homo sapiens is still included under Animalia/Chordata, which while technically accurate, still allows for humans to be reported and classified. You’ll see it under photos of Charles Darwin. What we’re asking is that it be excluded from reportable taxa.

Sorry, I’m not sure I understand the request. What do you mean by “under photos of Charles Darwin” and “excluded from reportable taxa”?


I think I might know what you’re trying to do. Are you trying to remove observations of homo sapiens from a collection project?

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I get where you’re coming from, there is no need to take photos of yourself and count it as an observation. This isn’t a social media platform, it’s for scientific observations. I am unsure if it is even possible to remove it as an option to choose though. If it is I would approve of it.

I agree that humans should be removed from reportable taxa. When wanting to know how many mammal observations are associated with a certain area, when 20% of those are humans, it kind of throws the numbers off.

I don’t want to build the incredible ego our species already has, but if we moved Homo sapiens to their own group, instead of under chordata-mammalia-primates etc, then they’d fall to the wayside as far as local observations go, which would be very useful for the purposes of this site. It would also make humans feel special, but that’s beside the point.

One the one hand… under what circumstance is there scientific value for documenting a small amount of fairly random and usually spamming photos of humans anyway? I’ve seen the taxa used by identifiers in the case of human objects being mistaken for remains of life, but I don’t see much more real utility.

On the other hand, I can’t seriously believe that removing the ability to report Homo sapiens would remove much spamming. I’ve seen humans reported as another taxa (usually as a juvenile joke) as often as as humans. And confused new users would probably just keep adding humans as ‘unknown’.

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We need to be able to mark things as humans because people will always be adding humans or their “sign” here and marking as human is the only way to get the other species ID cancelled out. Also if there is no humans option the inevitable human photos will be identified as other things causing bad data.

Maybe just default filters that ignore them.

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I like to post photos of humans doing activities that are consumptive. I have taken one selfie in my entire life, so I never understand the need to do that. But I do like to document behaviors unique to species. The last human photo I posted was a man shore fishing on the ocean, which gives perspective on ways humans interact with their environment.


As far as I am concerned, let’s remove Homo sapiens from the site. This will surely make things better.

people will still post pictures of humans, we just won’t have anything to tag them with, making it harder to get rid of joke IDs.


Yes many human observations are spammy, but some of them are legitimately quite fascinating. Take for example the observations in the Anthropology project, which documents some examples of evidence and artifacts of human civilizations past:
I know this is not the focus of iNat per se, but every now and then when us naturalists are out doing our thing and we stumble upon stuff like this, I think there is value in documenting it. I also agree with @natureali in that documenting modern human behavior can be equally as interesting.

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What I meant was: people are photographing other people (sometimes their butts) and then uploading those photographs under Genus/Species: Homo sapiens–sometimes putting them under a photo of Charles Darwin. I don’t know if this is for humorous purposes or just to be annoying, but iNaturalist was not designed to be a ‘people watching platform,’ but to report species of flora and fauna.

So…I am asking if the Genus/Species Homo sapiens can be blocked or removed so that people stop misusing the platform for ‘reporting’ sightings of people, instead of animals and plants.

There…Is that a bit clearer?

I didn’t mean literally remove Homo sapiens from the platform—that would leave us with no users! I meant, removing Homo sapiens as a ‘reportable species or taxa,’ so that user will stop reporting the genus altogether. It’s not was iNaturalist was designed for.

Interesting, perhaps…but, it’s not the purpose for which iNaturalist was designed for: to report ‘interesting human behavior.’ The purpose of iNaturlist is to report the various species of flora and fauna.

Exactly. And enough more typing to exceed the 10 character post threshold…

@danaleeling mentioned here that his students posted photos of each other specifically because Homo sapiens came up as an option. Is there a way to have Homo sapiens as an option for identifiers to “deactivate” observations but also not accidentally encourage Homo sapiens observations?

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Being able to submit an observation of homo sapiens is an easily discoverable way for complete novices to engage with the platform. Once people find that this works they may be encouraged to try what else works.

The additional work for identifiers is trivial. Identifying an observation of somebody’s class mate as human is not an edge case that requires deliberation or even an attempt to engage the observer.

I sincerely hope that homo sapiens remains in the taxonomy as it is now.


I’ve posted a small number of Homo sapiens photo-records on iNat. All were of excellent naturalists (and friends/colleagues) who had recently passed away, and I included some biographical info on them. I know other iNat users have done that. It seems like a good use of the human category if it is to be retained on iNat.